Pollen-Free (temporarily)

My car, freshly washed and pollen-free
Freshly washed and pollen-free

The pollen here has been so bad that I finally broke down and washed my car. I took a picture of it when I was done so I can remember how nice it looked. By tomorrow morning it will have a new coat of yellow. Ah, it was pretty for an hour or so.

The pollen hasn’t hurt me as badly as last year, but it’s as gross as ever:

Pollen on the water hose
Pollen, pollen everywhere - Yuck!

A walk across the dam

Finally – doing something to live up to my 2nd resolution: to be healthy. I walked across the Lake Murray dam* Tuesday and Wednesday nights.

The Lake Murray Dam, aka officially the Dreher Shoals Dam
Everyone here knows it as the Lake Murray Dam; it takes walking across it to know that the "official" name is Dreher Shoals Dam.
Walkway on top of the Lake Murray Dam
Setting out on the walkway of the Lake Murray Dam. There are lots of walkers from 6 p.m. on.

The walk one way across is 1.8 miles. Lots of folks in Irmo and Lexington are out exercising on the dam walkway.

Love this Daylight Savings Time – it’s giving us more time to walk at night. And the beautiful weather is great for walking. Now, if we could just do something about the pollen.

Dreher Shoals Dam Intake Towers in the distance
The Intake Towers for the Dam are in the distance.

I wonder how often this little contraption is used to get workers back and forth from the dam to the Towers:

The "bosun's chair" to the Towers
If this were a ship, I'd say this was a "bo'sun's chair." Let's call it the "bo'sun's chair" to the Towers, shall we?

Sorry for the terrible photos – I forgot my camera and was relying on my itty-bitty non-smart phone.

*Okay, three-quarters of the way across and back. But that still comes to 2 miles total – I checked it with my car odometer after the walk.

A Baptist looks at Lent

Most Baptists (or Protestants, for that matter) don’t make a big deal out of Lent. Or “give anything up”. I remember one Catholic friend in high school told me her mom always gave up cantaloupe for Lent.  Being out of season, it wasn’t too big a sacrifice for her.

But I like the discipline; your small sacrifice forces you to reflect on all our Lord gave up for us. Once I gave up all carbonated beverages for Lent when I was in college. And that was when I had an 8 a.m. class. Early Easter morning I popped the top of a Diet Coke and toasted the resurrection of our Lord. Nobody sang out more joyfully later that day on the Alleluias, I tell you.

This year I’m going to give up pointless Web surfing. (Sometimes, of course, surfing the Web is legitimate – like looking for airfares for our family reunion later this year.)

Specifically, I will remove most sites from my weekday browsing and limit my weekday Internet usage to

  • E-mail
  • Publishing on my blog. It auto-posts to Facebook, so that takes care of that. No hanging around that site.
  • Weather.com
  • Paying bills
  • One news site

Nothing else. In fact, I think I’ll “de-subscribe” from some blogs so I won’t get their updates and be tempted to click over.

It shouldn’t be as hard to do as you might think. For the last three Sundays I’ve been doing an “Internet Sabbath.” I’ve completely unplugged on Sundays. The first one almost killed me; I had never had such an urge to go online! But it’s a wonderful way to slow down and shut down some of the stimuli. It’s so relaxing I now look forward to Sunday afternoons.

Fancy is as fancy does

Last Friday I was supposed to meet a friend for lunch at Tiffany’s Bakery and Eatery, a chi-chi lunch spot near work. It’s chi-chi because it’s really too expensive for a working girl – $9 for chicken salad and sweet tea? Even if it is their specialty chicken salad served in a tortilla shell with a side of fruit. Now that gas prices are going up even more I can’t visit often.

I got there early and as I waited I admired the specialties at the Bakery counter. Mom’s birthday was the next day, and I already had her gift. But I knew we wouldn’t have cake, because we’re all watching what we eat. (Some of us are watching our calories and some of us (ahem, me) are watching ourselves shovel it in.) When I saw the beautiful mini-cakes – lovely little towers of sponge cake tiered with raspberry cream, then topped with raspberry cream, whipped cream and a raspberry to finish – I knew I had to buy three of them so we could all have a little treat at Mom’s birthday lunch.

So far, ho-hum. What made the occasion interesting was the queue at the bakery – not even an orderly line, but a clot of women. The lady to the right of me ordered three loaves of bread, all of which had to be sliced. The one counter attendant was struggling to keep up. I waited semi-patiently while women kept coming in and barging up to the counter.  I’m thinking, these people are going to jump ahead of me! I’m going to speak up. I’m not letting them cut in line! To complete the scene, the ladies who were in front of me (sweet old things) kept dithering about what to order.

When it finally came time for me to order, I thought to myself, I’ll show them how it’s done. I crisply said “three raspberry cakes to go, please.” I was so pleased with myself, thinking “here’s someone who knows how to order quickly and efficiently.” But then I had to wait some more while the attendant slowly and carefully boxed the cakes, lifting them one at a time from the tray and meticulously setting them, still in their individual cake frills, inside the box. Then she put the ribbon on the box, taking an inordinate amount of time to secure it around the box.

That’s when the clerk came back to me and said “that will be $16 dollars and 17 cents.” I about fell over. I was standing there with a $10 bill in my hand, thinking, surely these won’t be more than $2.50 or even $3 apiece. I gaped and asked her, excuse me – how much? She repeated “$16.17. The cakes are $4.99 each.”

At that point I had about 20 minutes invested in getting these cakes. Much of that time I’d been sweetly glowering at the other patrons – you know how Southern ladies do, with a smile on their face. I felt bad about that. And I couldn’t ask her to unbox the cakes, since it took so much effort to get them ready. So, I just smiled and fished my debit card out of my wallet.

The moral of the story: No matter how pretty or precious, last-minute, spur-of-the-moment purchases are NEVER good for my budget.

(But they were tasty little cakes.)