No record this time

It appears we will not tie or break the record of 21 straight days of triple digit heat. It is much cooler this morning, in the 60s instead of high 70s, with a forecast of 99 for this afternoon. 

The nearby forest fires are making for some spectacular sunrises and sunsets. Of course, the air can be pretty bad for breathing purposes. As I stepped out on the front porch this morning, the sun exploded through the tree branches. 

We are trying to break a record

Fresno has a record it is trying to break. None of the residents are cheering for this record, though. In 2005 Fresno set the record of 21 consecutive days of over 100 degrees. It was in August. This year, we are clearly on our way to matching that record with 14 consecutive days over 100, and it’s only July. As I type this, at 10 am, PDT, it is 90 degrees. It will easily be 100 by noon.

Because of these hot days, I am living life in the slow lane. The very slow lane. I’m up early to do any outdoor chores, like this morning I wanted to rake leaves and take down spider webs on the fences and the porch. I was back indoors before 8:30. I also prefer to get the laundry done early because the washer and dryer are in the garage. The uncooled garage. I got two loads washed and dried by 9:30.

The fans are all running. The AC is set at 80 and comes on quite regularly. I’ve drawn the drapes to keep the bright sun out of the rooms. At one point this morning, very early, it looked as though the sun had exploded in the living room.


So what is all this heat good for? Our summer crops thrive, as long as they get water. Cotton is doing a happy dance in the fields. Grapes are sugaring up each of these hot days. The berries are all done, too hot for them now. The melons and tomatoes are coming in and as long as they can find shade under their green leaves, they do very well in this heat. Did you know that the San Joaquin Valley produces the majority of canned tomato products for the world? The heat helps with that. Corn can be heard growing in the fields on days over 100.

I am staying home today, and we will eat leftovers for our meals. The next few days, though, I have errands to run, places to be, so I will get an early start and try to be home by 11 am. Noon at the very latest. I’m not trying to break any records.

No comment

Once again, those of you with Blogger blogs are seeing few comments from me. I have typed so many comments, in so many blogs, recently, and they have all disappeared. Most pop up a comment that says I must write something before posting! Well, duh. I did. Then I told the boxes, again and again, that I was WordPress, then that I was dkzody, then that I was NOT a robot. Poof, gone.

Some of you are writing great posts, and I really have some good comments, but you aren’t seeing them. Keep writing. I’m out there. I just cannot comment.

A second funeral in one week

After the disappointing funeral I attended on Wednesday, I didn’t have the heart to go to another one on Friday. Besides, it was Ladies Who Lunch, and I would much prefer spending my time with these delightfully alive women sitting around a table with good food and conversation than sitting in a mausoleum where this former teacher’s service would be held. Funny thing, though, two of the Ladies Who Lunch also knew the deceased and decided to forego lunch for the funeral service.

I  could have done both lunch and funeral since we met early for lunch so as to beat the heavy lunch crowd of working people. The place we had chosen is  situated in a large tech hub and seating is at a premium. We got there early enough to commandeer a major part of the communal dining table. The daughter of one of the retired teachers has just moved back to Fresno to start a job with Fresno State University and to relocate her craft business. It was so much fun to catch up with her and hear her plans for her big shift.

Because the cafe where we ate is a favorite of mine and Terry’s, I took a sandwich home to him. Another reason I decided to forego the funeral. When I left downtown Fresno at 1:20 it was 100 degrees. I wasn’t about to let his sandwich sit in a hot car for a few hours. Besides, it was 100 degrees. Why are people having these services in the afternoon during these scorching days? I really prefer to be home, sitting in my air conditioned house, not trying to navigate sizzling streets with a bunch of hot, irritable drivers, when the temperatures are over 100. I drove home, in my air conditioned car, to my air conditioned house, and spent the rest of the day reading.

I heard from one of the other teachers who did attend the funeral and she said she had a nice time because so many of the former teachers from that high school where we all worked for so many years were in attendance. She said it was a big reunion. That was nice to hear. However, I wanted to know more about the actual service. The one I attended on Wednesday had many old, familiar faces, but I was so depressed by the time I finished listening to two long, boring sermons, that I wasn’t in much of a mood to stand around and chat.

 

Funerals

Do you attend funerals? Some people refuse to go to any. Some people attend every one that comes along. I’m one of those in-between people…depends on my mood of the day. And a bit on who the deceased was in my life. Did I know them a long time? Did I work with them? Were they arm-length friends? Family member? It may seem odd to Readers, but that last category is the one I attend the least. I am not close to the distant family I have. I didn’t grow up with much family around us. My mother’s brothers all died at young ages (my mother lived to be 86) so I did attend a number of those. (Have I ever told you that my mother was one of 8 children, my dad one of 7?)

Over the years I have attended some wonderful funerals, or as we tend to call them here, memorial services. It’s seldom that the deceased is at their own service. Those who lived a long, productive life, always giving to others, always benefitting the community, are the ones I really enjoy. You hear inspirational stories of what they accomplished in their life. You hear about the history of their family and how many overcame great disadvantages to make it and succeed in life. Secrets are often revealed at these services.

Yesterday, on a 104-degree afternoon, I headed out to the funeral of a gentleman who died on Sunday (a really quick turnaround for a service on Wednesday) and who had recently turned 100 years old. This man had lived an exemplary life. He was a devoted husband, caring for an invalid wife for over a decade before she succumbed. He had raised two successful sons. He had a good career and was well known for what he did in all areas of his life.  I had known him for 42 years of those 100. I expected the service to be well attended and the stories would lift my soul.

Hah! Fooled me. There were no stories. Only TWO long sermons on the same Bible passage, one preached by the man’s 72 year old son, a minister, and one preached by the youngish pastor of the church where the deceased had been a member for 60+ years. There was no live music as the church no longer has a music director but has switched over to a rock n roll band to lead praise choruses on Sunday, and none of the hard rock band members were available on a hot weekday afternoon. Although the songs that were selected were old standard hymns, the canned music did not match the words displayed on the screens. The youngish pastor hardly knew the life of the old time member. He mispronounced the name of the man’s deceased wife. And again, there were NO STORIES.

This was one funeral where I not only grieved for the life gone, but for the poorly executed service that did not do justice to that life.

Twice baked on a hot day

Twice-baked potatoes are a favorite of ours. Since my Cuisinart died, though, I have been making an easier variety that I call “smashed potatoes.”  


I use four very small Yukon gold potatoes since it’s just the two of us. I bake them in the microwave, and since they are small it takes only a few minutes. 

While the potatoes cool enough to handle, I line a baking sheet with parchment. I chop a couple of green onions, cube a quarter cup of butter (or a bit more), get out bacon bits and shaved  Parmesan cheese. 

After setting the oven to preheat to 400 degrees, I smash each potato as flat as I can (on the parchment covered baking sheet) and top with the prepped ingredients in the order I listed. The potatoes bake a second time for about 20 minutes in that hot oven. 

I did this operation early this morning as the weather forecaster is promising 106 degrees today. The potatoes can be eaten for lunch with leftovers stored away for another meal tomorrow. 

A woman of a certain age…can be very popular

I am extremely popular right now. The mail is pouring in. I get phone calls, emails, and twice now, handsome men have come to my door, asking for my hand…wait, not my hand, but rather my medicare gap insurance business!

You see, dear Reader, in just a few weeks I, like many others this year, this month, this week, this day, will turn 65. That magic age for Medicare insurance that the government offers to us (for a fee). It doesn’t cover everything and so one needs another policy (for a fee) that pays for extras and for prescriptions. Big insurance companies have come to the realization that the baby boomers are hitting this magic age at the rate of about 10,000 a day. We are a big market. Well, some of us more so than others.

Insurance companies now have the ability to not only find out your age, your address, your phone number, your email, but also your health condition. They are not big risk takers, you see, but prefer to insure those who will pay lots but cost little. That way, they make BIG profits. I’m one of the those baby boomers who has reached the age of 65 with little to no health issues. No hospitalizations. No surgeries. No prescriptions. I live in a safe neighborhood (so far). I don’t take many risks. No drinking, no drugs, no smoking.  I am their perfect customer. So, the mail, phone calls, and even personal visits are inundating me.

The phone calls I don’t answer. The mail gets tossed. But the personal visits? Those make me laugh. Twice now I have had very distinguished gentlemen show up at my door, literature in hand. Today’s visitor had the name of the company on his polo shirt. I knew what he wanted before he hardly opened his mouth.

“Oh, you’re here about medigap insurance?”

“Why, yes, we are,” before he could do any more than ask if I was Delaine Zody.

“Oh, I won’t be needing that. You see, I have Fresno Unified (they all know that the school district offers the best insurance in the city), and I have Tricare (Terry is retired military and I get to tag on to his insurance, again the best probably in the nation).”

Their faces fall.

“Is there any other insurance needs we can help you with?”

“No, none at all. I’m well covered.”

“Thank you,” as they turn and walk off the porch.

Terry, a few years older than me, wonders why he didn’t get this much attention when he turned 65. He did get some of the mail, but the insurance companies hadn’t realized, then, what a money-maker they had on their hands. He was at the beginning of the baby boom. Now, each year, he is inundated with medigap mailings, but like me, he just tosses them out. Like me, he too is well covered. We feel very fortunate to have these two avenues of good health insurance when we know there are many who don’t.