A cheap but high maintenance chair!

March 31, 2010

About a week ago I got a great deal on a new office chair to use at our computer desk.  It was $89 during a big office chair sale at our near-by office supply store.

But when I came up here early this morning to write a post, even before I turned on a light, I could see something white laying under the chair.  My great buy was already falling apart!

Can you guess what it is that had fallen off?  It’s that universally feared label that says “Under penalty of law this tag not to be removed.”  Although, I guess because of all the jokes over the years about these tags, this new “improved” version of the tag does say, “Under penalty of law this tag not to be removed except by the consumer.”   The rest of the tag talks about flammability and lists the materials used in the seat cushion.  Well, okay.  Since I’m the “consumer” I guess I can just throw that tag away.

But wait, after I turned on the light and took this picture, I happened to notice that another white label was hanging down from the back side of the chair, also ready to fall off.  So I pulled it off and read it.  Hmmm, that hanging-by-a-thread label read, “WARNING  Do not remove this tag.”  (Oops!)  Well, I already had it off so I might as well read it.  It lists six points that I can see a bunch of lawyers coming up with while sitting around a long table in a conference room somewhere:

.  This chair has been tested and approved for users weighing up to 225 lbs. (100 kg).  It is not recommended for use by anyone weighing more than 225 lbs. (100 kg).

. This chair is designed for sitting on the seat only and nothing else.  Do not stand on or use as a step ladder.  Do not sit on the arm rest.

. This chair is designed for seating one person at a time.

. Tighten all screws, knobs, bolts and parts firmly or otherwise do not use.

. EVERY MONTH (my emphasis), check all screws, knobs and bolts and firmly tighten any that have loosened.

. If any parts are missing, damaged, or worn, stop using immediately.  Repair the chair with manufacturer supplied parts only.  Replacement parts can be obtained by calling Customer Service.

Well, I’ve now slapped that DO NOT REMOVE sticker back on the underside of the chair, so I think we’re “legal” for now.

But I have to be honest, I’m guessing it won’t be too long before we’re “out of compliance” with these instructions.  I’m having trouble picturing us “checking all screws, knobs and bolts” every month!

Who knew that a cheap little office chair would have  so many instructions with it, and require maintenance checks about as often as a 747!

I think it’s obvious that a label that says “do not remove” but is falling off indicates a little bit of a quality control issue.  But, more importantly, I think the fact that a company finds it necessary to write the detailed instructions listed above for a simple little office chair, speaks clearly to the fact that we live in a litigious society where companies feel the need to list many common sense instructions on any product to avoid being sued.

If I’d wanted to own something this high maintenance, I could have got a dog — at least it would have met me at the door!

Spring and new beginnings

March 29, 2010


Hurt feelings.  Harsh words.  A friendship ended.

Three years pass.

A “life’s too short” moment experienced.  An invitation to meet for lunch extended.  A tentative acceptance.

It would be wonderful if one of the things that  had a new beginning this Spring would be this old and dear but then broken friendship.

An Easter Brunch Casserole!

March 27, 2010


To me, brunch is the easiest meal in the world to make for company.  An egg casserole, a pretty bowl of mixed fruit, some breads and/or pastries with coffee and orange juice (or add champagne and make them mimosa’s!), and you’re set.

So, I have a suggestion for an egg casserole that we really enjoy, just in case you’re looking for something a little different to make for Easter brunch!  

    This is a picture of this casserole made with ciabatta bread.  I made it for a brunch recently.  I don’t suggest getting “exotic” with the bread like this, because while I thought it would give it an “interesting” texture, what I ended up with was a very “fluffy” casserole.  I didn’t like it as well.  So, I suggest you just stick with using slices of regular sandwich bread.

Cheese and Shrimp Casserole

 6 slices of firm bread, crust removed

4 T. melted butter

1 C. grated Swiss cheese

2 chopped green onions

2 T. chopped parsley

½ lb. tiny cooked shrimp

3 eggs

½ t. salt

½ t. Dijon mustard

1 ½ C. milk

½ C. sour cream

 Cut each slice of bread diagonally.  Dip one side of each slice in melted butter.  Arrange half of the slices in an unbuttered 8” square dish.  Sprinkle with half of the cheese, onions, parsley and shrimp.  Repeat. 

Beat eggs, salt, mustard, milk and sour cream together.  Pour over top. 

Cover and refrigerate overnight.

Bake at 350 degrees for 30-40 minutes or until puffed and golden. 

Let set for 10 minutes before serving. 

Spring Sunrise

March 26, 2010


Nobody does color like God does! 

Happy Friday!

Content is copyright protected.

Fun times go fast!

March 24, 2010


Nikki and Jay were here last week for their spring break, and we had a great time.  We went to Cinema Grille twice! (Alice in Wonderland received good reviews from all of us — Diary of a Wimpy Kid, not so much, but I thought it was cute!  Although, it was typical middle school humor, i.e., gross at times.)

    Hubby and Jay went to the gym every day.

    And Nikki and I went to the gym one day too.

    But then we thought, “Hmmm.  There has to be a way to get our exercise without sweating!”

    Soooo, we came up with a brilliant solution — we got our exercise the rest of the week by shopping! … and getting haircuts and …

   … making cake balls!  I made the balls — she dipped and decorated them.  Didn’t she do a great job?

      At the end of dinner one night, something we talked about reminded Hubby of a couple of  harmonicas he had in the back of a drawer, so he got them out to give to Nikki and Jay.  But while Nikki finished eating, Hubby and Jay teamed up to “serenade” her on the harmonicas.  (Well, when I really think about it, it was more like “dueling banjoes” than a serenade!)

   We all laughed alot.

   But even though Hubby got out the harmonicas as a joke, Jay immediately began to produce some actual music with his!  Hubby has never had music lessons and doesn’t like to sing, but he has always been musical.  He can whistle beautifully and has always been able to sit down at a piano and play or play a tune on a harmonica.  And as fast as Jay took to the harmonica, I would guess he has inherited some of that same ability.

   I took this on the morning we were leaving to take them back for the “hand-off” to Gunny in St. Louis.  They had just gotten up, can you tell?  While Hubby packed the car, I suggested the three of us take a short walk just to give our legs a good stretch before beginning that long ride in the car.

   We walked part way around the lake and there were signs of spring everywhere …

   When we crossed a bridge, we looked down and saw tiny fish passing underneath.

   A couple of ducks were on a roof top, probably looking for a good place to build a nest.  (Oh oh, I think they’re looking toward our house.  There is a spot near our front door where, even when we try to discourage it, a mama duck makes a nest every year!)

   As soon as we returned, it was time for them to go home.   

Just one short week out of a whole year that we spend with just the two of them.  I hope we have given them some good memories, because they have definitely given us many!

Time really does fly when you’re having fun — especially with two people you love very much.

Be part of the solution, not part of the problem!

March 22, 2010


One of my favorite quotes from my long ago, very quotable, co-worker Ernestine was, “I just want to be a part of the solution, not a part of the problem!”

Applying that to our society’s well-being, I would say that the way to be part of the solution is to vote.

You know when they talk about the “grass-roots” in politics?  That’s me.  Just one of the “roots” so far down on the plant that it can’t be seen with the naked eye, just a tiny part of the giant “root system” which is needed to keep the “turf” (good government) alive and well.

Apathy among us “grass-rooters” (voters) is bad.  Sparse roots mean that the “turf” isn’t thick enough to keep out the “weeds”.

And because each of us tiny little “roots” can’t keep the turf healthy all by ourselves, we need to vote not only thinking about what is best for us as individuals but also for what is best for “the whole lawn” (our country)!

I believe overall the new health care bill is a “blight on our lawn” because it makes promises that will either go unfulfilled or, if fulfilled as promised, will bankrupt not only our health care system but our country.

How did the people in Washington who represent you vote yesterday?  If they voted the way you agree with — let them know!  Give them support and encouragement!  We all need and appreciate that.  And if you do feel they are doing a good job, also give them the support they need by voting for them next time.

But if you don’t feel they listened to you and they didn’t vote the way you think is best, don’t vote for them next time.  Look for a candidate you can vote for whom you believe will sincerely listen to the people they represent and then vote accordingly.  And encourage them to vote with the best interest of the entire country at heart (which, of course, is ultimately best for you too), not just good for their own little chunk of sod.

Our right to vote is what makes this a democracy.  And our democracy isn’t perfect, but if you look around the world at the alternatives — I don’t think you’ll see anything better.

One final point to ponder regarding our health care system being run by the federal government:  Name one service that the federal government runs that thrives.  If you are thinking of one you think fits the description, look closer.  Because there are none. 

Please, vote every chance you get, from one little “root” to another.  Be part of the solution, not part of the problem.


Well, all. My lovely daughter, DD, has pointed out to me that she doesn’t think I mean exactly what I said here, because we really don’t believe in big government — but I guess this does sound like I do! So, read between the lines — what I mean instead of what I say. I will always VOTE — but with smaller, less intrusive government as a goal.


Content copyright protected.

Mama Remembered: (one final panther story) Grandpa Browning and a Panther

March 19, 2010


It’s funny that I never realized that there were three stories about panthers in Mama’s book, I Remember, until I reprinted the first one about her experience with a panther two days ago.  Then I thought, “Hey, I remember reading somewhere else in the book about her dad and a panther when he was a cowboy!”  So, I looked up that story and shared it yesterday.  And as I was relaying that story, it reminded me of yet another one about his father!  So I looked it up and here is her third, and I think final, story about a panther.  

But before I tell you Mama’s last panther story that involved her Grandpa Browning, here’s is another of her stories that gives a little background on that kind of interesting grandpa:

Grandpa and Grandma Browning

I never knew my grandparents on Dad’s side.  They had both died before he and Mom met, but here is what I know about them from Dad’s stories.

My grandfather was Dr. Benjamin Franklin Browning.  His brothers were James Monroe, George Washington, Thomas Jefferson and several others, whose names I can’t remember.  They were all named after famous men from the past.

Grandpa’s father was a wealthy farmer and had servants.  When Grandpa was a baby his nurse dropped him and broke his back.  He grew up to be a hunchback and was only 4’11” tall.  His father realized he could never be a farmer or do any sort of manual labor, so he sent him to school to be a doctor. 

Dr. B.F. Browning was a country doctor and called on his patients on horseback or in a horse-drawn buggy.  He and his wife, Martha Ellen, lived a few miles from Lansing, Kansas in Leavenworth County in a one-room log house, heated by a huge fireplace.  It had an attic where my Dad slept as a boy.  He had to climb a ladder to get up in the attic and sometimes in the winter he would wake up with snow on his covers.

Grandpa and Grandma were both very proud of their Scottish ancestors.  Their families both belonged to the Roberson Clan in Scotland.  Grandpa was related in some way to the poet Robert Browning.  He inherited some land in Scotland once, but the only way he could claim it was to go over there and live on it for two or three years.  He never went.

Grandpa and Grandma had four children, two boys and two girls.  The oldest child was Reubena Ellen.  They called her Reubie.  Then there was another girl who died when she was about a year old.  Next was a boy named Robert who also died as a baby.  My dad was the fourth child.  His name was Duncan (his mother’s maiden name) LaRue. (Sandra’s note:  To give you some perspective on the dates for these events, I know that Duncan was born in 1869.)

Grandpa planted a double row of walnut trees from their house out to the road.  I saw those trees and his old home when I was about 9 years old (Note: she was born in 1907. S).  We were living in Kansas City and Dad took us out to see the old place.  We rode the interurban.  An interurban was a street car that traveled between cities.

Now, here is the excerpt from Mama’s book about her Grandpa’s panther story:

Grandpa Browning and the Panther

Dad used to tell us a lot of stories about his family.  The story I remember best is about Grandpa coming home late one night from delivering a baby.  The night was dark, no moon, not even any stars.  He had to ride through dense woods.  He was riding along on his horse, thinking about getting home and being able to get some rest.  All at once his horse lunged forward and he had difficulty hanging on.  At that moment a panther landed on the horse’s back behind the saddle and then slid off.  The horse really took off for home then with Grandpa hanging on for dear life.

If the horse had not lunged forward, the panther would have landed right on Grandpa.  No doubt the horse either sensed the panther or he could see it in the dark.  Grandpa would never have seen it.  It was a close call for Grandpa.

The fact that three past generations of my family had stories to tell about panthers tells me one of two things — either panthers were verrry common west of the Mississippi in the olden days and sightings were common for everyone — or, my family is just genetically predisposed to attracting panthers!  In which case, I probably should steer clear of the panthers when I go to a zoo.

Content copyright protected.

Mama Remembered: Cowboys and Panthers

March 18, 2010


Mama’s father was a very trusting soul.  And, he personified the “the grass is always greener on the other side of the fence” view of life.  I think of him as my “Scottish dreamer” grandpa, because he was Scottish and he wasn’t very practical. 

Someone he had just met could promise him land and a house to live in in some other state that would sound better than his current circumstance, and he would just pack his wife and children up and move, on the basis of  just a stranger’s word!  As you can imagine, most times the promise was much grander than the reality when they actually got there. 

But after his first marriage broke up and before he and my grandmother met, he had what was for me his most interesting job — he was a cowboy!

Here is a story from Mama’s book, I Remember that happened while he was a cowboy for a while at the beginning of the 20th century.  I remember the ledger she mentioned with songs and poems written in it in my grandfather’s beautiful handwriting.  Anyway, here is her story:

Dad was a cowboy in west Texas for a year or so in about 1904 or 1905.  He was paid $35 a month and got his room and board.

He said each of the cowboys had to take his turn “riding fence”.  That meant riding around the perimeter of the land checking to see that the fence was in good repair and, if it wasn’t, fixing it.  The ranch was so big, in order to ride all the way around the fence, a fellow had to camp out for two or three weeks.  He did his own cooking and, at night, put his rope on the ground around his bed to keep snakes away.  He said a snake won’t cross a rope.  There were lots of rattlesnakes in that country.

On his way back to the ranch headquarters from one of these trips, he came upon a cow and her newborn calf.  At about the same time, he spotted a panther slinking through some bushes.  He knew if he left the calf there, the panther would get it, so he put the calf across the saddle in front of him and headed for the ranch house.

There was a lone tree that his path went under.  But he said he had a feeling he shouldn’t go under the tree so he circled the tree and went back to the path further on.  Then he looked back and, sure enough, that panther was coming down out of the tree.  He said he spurred his horse on and they really took off for the ranch house.  He got there with the calf okay.

I was always fascinated with the stories Dad would tell us about when he was a cowboy.  Not only did he tell us about his experiences, but also stories other cowboys told while sitting around the bunk house at night, and about the cowboy songs they would sing.  He wrote alot of the songs down in a ledger which I still have.

I think my sister, Martha, still has the ledger.  The next time I’m there I’m going to ask about it.  I would love to take some pictures of the pages if they are still legible.

By the way, I think how Mama’s father handled his experience with the panther may have been influenced by an experience his father had had with a panther!  I’ll print that story from Mama’s book tomorrow.

Content copyright protected.

Mama Remembered: A Panther’s Scream

March 17, 2010


When Mama was about 12 years old and her family lived on a small farm outside Chadwick, Missouri, she got a job working in a restaurant in Chadwick owned by Belva and Guy Hastings.  Because of the long hours she (they all) worked and also that she went to school in town, she lived with Belva and Guy in their house next door to the restaurant during the week. 

Mama had fond memories of that job and one of her favorite memories was of her and Belva getting up very early each morning to make the pies for the day.  Mama always made great pies for us, and I would guess her early pie-making experience with Belva, might have been the reason.

Here is a story from Mama’s book, I Remember, about something that happened while she was living with Belva and Guy:

Dad always told me the scream of a panther sounded like the scream of a woman.  The only time I ever heard one was when I was working for Belva and Guy Hastings at the restaurant in Chadwick.  It was about 9 o’clock in the evening and I had gone to bed.  All at once I heard this terrible sound.  I can’t explain what it sounded like, but it sent chills up and down my spine.  I called to Belva in the next room, “Bell — what was that!”  She answered, “That was a panther.”  I got up and closed my window, all but about four inches, although it was August and hot as blazes.

The next day a hunter brought the big cat into town.  It was scary even though it was dead.  It was so big its front feet drug on the ground as the man carried its back legs over his shoulder.

I felt better when I went to bed that night, knowing the panther was dead.

Our granddaughter Coco is, in my opinion, a very responsible, mature 12 year old.  But it is hard for me to picture her living this life.  Living away from home, working in a restaurant, and during the school year, going to school too!  But I think 12 years old was much older back then than it was even in my generation, but especially today.

Content copyright protected.

A Grandparenting Paradox

March 16, 2010


When grandchildren come to stay for a while, it feels a little like Hubby and I are trying to jump on a moving train!  Life suddenly gets hectic and moves at a much faster pace.  So, we have to “run” to get “up to speed”.

Nikki (16) and Jay (15) are here for their spring break and we are busy.  It brings back memories from when we had teenage children at home — never enough hours in the day.  Things that you just don’t get to do, because there just isn’t enough time

So on the one hand, all this activity makes me feel like there is a plug in my side that holds in my energy reserves and that it has suddenly been removed and all of my energy has drained out!  (We sleep like the dead!) 

But on the other hand, having teenagers in the house brings us a different, fresh energy that is exciting.  “What’s for dinner?”  “Do I have time to get a haircut?”  “We want to work out.  Can we go to the gym?”  “Yeah, I’ve wanted to see that movie!  It’s at Cinema Grille?  All the better!”  . . . cell phones, texting, hair issues, teen fashion, favorite food requests.  Whewww.

We’ll get our old energy back after they leave and we get back to our routine. 

But during this week they are here, we’ll just enjoy living in the aura of young, fun energy that fills every corner of our space right now.

We love you Nikki and Jay!

Content copyright protected.