Sunday, August 21, 2011

A Dog, a Cat, and a Rat

If they can do it, why can't we?..., via  here.

   This is a video of a homeless man in Santa Barbara and his pets.  They work State Street every week for donations.    The animals are pretty well fed and are mellow.  They are a family.  The man who owns them rigged a harness up for his cat so she wouldn't have to walk so much (like the dog and himself).    At some juncture the rat came along, and as no one wanted to eat anyone else, the rat started riding with the cat and, often, on the cat!    The dog, will stand all day and let you talk to him and admire him for a few chin scratches.  The Mayor of Santa Barbara filmed this clip and sent it out as a holiday card.

Don't worry, I promise you that this is a simple story on youtube about 1 man and his mission, and it's just over 2 viruses or anything. oxoxPaula

Thursday, August 18, 2011

My GE Oven Fire

 My house was built in 1995, the last house that was built in the Quince Haven neighborhood in Gaithersburg, or North Potomac MD.  We are the second owners, and have done some updating since we moved in, but our wall oven was the original.
   Last month, after preheating the oven, I put some vegetables in the oven to roast, and continued making supper. Moments later, I was surprised by a bright light coming from the oven. Luckily, I was just steps away, because there was a flame in there burning around and on the element about 6 inches high!!  I grabbed my baking dish out of the oven quickly, and the flames rose higher. I quickly closed the door..and the flames continued.  I turned off the oven, and the flaming continued.  I threw some flour on the flames- bad idea...that stuff burns. 
   First of all, I knew that the fire wasn't caused by grease or dirt in the oven, because my oven was quite clean. Not perfectly clean, but there were no drips or spills and I had cleaned the oven recently.
  The fire kept burning, and I quite frankly was getting in a panic because I wasn't sure where this fire might lead to. The fire started on the right side of the lower burning element and was traveling around the shape melting the metal and the sheath it was encased in. The door was closed but this fire wasn't slowing down.
   Luckily I wasn't home alone and my daughter's boyfriend ran downstairs to the basement and found the fusebox...he didn't know where it was but me in my panic must have given him ok directions, and he found the fuse switch for the oven and turned it off.  Finally, the fire went out.
   I don't know who marked our fusebox so well with each and every switch- maybe it was the engineer who lived in our house before us, but I am most grateful that everything was so well labeled. 
   If your fusebox isn't labeled well, I would suggest someday soon, before you need it, that is a project well worth its time to do. The other suggestion is not to leave an oven or stove unattended...who knows what may have happened with the fire if no one noticed it. Make sure smoke alarms are working too.
   Below are photos of the meltdown and our response when I contacted GE about the fire. The fire began at the red pen and finally went out when it reached the blue pen, when the electricity was turned off to the oven at the fuse box.

A closer view.

   I emailed GE and they said they are sorry it happened, and gave me the phone number of a GE repair service.  I called the service and made and appt. and they said it would be $99 to come to the house, plus parts and labor, with the $99 deducted from the final bill.  I cancelled the apt. cause why would I want to spend who knows how much on repairing an oven from 1995. 
   I emailed GE with photos, complained, and they said they will waive the $99 service call house fee, or would I like a $50 client rebate certificate, because they value my business.  What do you think?  Wall ovens are expensive ($1000+-$3000)..I'm researching them right now.  Meanwhile, I did "google" GE oven fires, and I see that I'm not the only one this has happened to. 

Wednesday, August 17, 2011


That's the rallying cry these days heard around the country.  Yes, government is useless!...Well, except for when they do things right...LIKE Maryland JUST DID.

A new phone service and website were recently established for traffic and weather reports, incidents, and tourism.  Dial 511 on your phone, cell or landline, or for cameras of traffic, information on road contruction, bridges, back ups, delays and more.  You can also sign up for alerts by phone or email if you have a regular commuting route that you would like covered for alerts.

Brought to you by:
Everybody wants to eat at the government's table, but nobody wants to do the dishes.  ~Werner Finck
I'm tired of hearing it said that democracy doesn't work. Of course it doesn't work. We are supposed to work it. ~Alexander Woollcott
Applause, mingled with boos and hisses, is about all that the average voter is able or willing to contribute to public life.  ~Elmer Davis

Anyway, check out this new 511 service! It's also available in VA, PA, and DC too.

Friday, August 12, 2011

It's FAIR TIME! And maybe it won't be too HOT to enjoy it! See you there! MoCo Rocks!

   It's time again for the Montgomery County Fair, which is hosted each year at the Fairgrounds just off Rt. 355/Frederick Ave in Gaithersburg. Plenty of parking ($5) or park at Lakeforest Mall and take the shuttle bus for free. There's so much to see, do and eat there!  From the entertainment, the farming, quilting, art, food extravaganzas, rides, farm exhibits, community interests..and if the weather is a bit cooler than it has been recently (less than 100 degrees), it might be a lovely way to spend a day or evening enjoying what MoCo has to offer. Opening Friday August 12-20th, 2011. Special rates and attractions on different days. Free Senior Day..etc. 

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Chinese Generosities in MoCo MD

   On Saturday it was a sunny nice day so I ran out to do some shopping to stock up on fruits and vegetables. One of my most favorite places to go is the Grand Mart on Muddy Branch Road in Gaithersburg.  (I nicknamed it the Chino/Latino market.)  To me, this store is very special- it's like a food museum where I wander the aisles and wonder about what I am seeing. They have the most amazing produce section, with many kinds of mushrooms, greens, onions, peppers, eggplants, bananas, oranges, potatoes, things and kinds you have never seen before- a plethora of produce and fish and meat and hot sauces and soy sauces and rices, etc.,  the likes of which most Americans never have seen or have the opportunity to try in most grocery stores. And all at Great Low Prices! Cauliflower-99cents a head, an amazingly delicious Basa fish from VietNam-$2.99/lb. Latino juices, spices, tortillas, cheeses, an array of taste tempting Indian breads, spices, and so many things that I can't even list the categories. Even Lebanese Labne! Anyway, I stocked up and came out of the store, and it was pouring rain.  There was a lady outside the store on it's site selling floor fans, flavored iced teas,  glass leftover containers, and discounted porcelain dishes, and we began to chat about the unexpected rains.  I decided to wait a bit to run to my car, hoping the rains would let up a little..which they did. Meanwhile though, the lady selling stuff outside offered me some containers of the iced teas..she said- for you, for free.  That was so sweet, but I didn't accept cause I wasn't really thirsty, plus I had iced coffee waiting for me in my van. Not so significant an event, until Sunday.  When I began to see a trend......

   On Sunday, Paul and I went out to do a little shopping for some other things, actually wedding presents, when we decided to check out another Asian Market - Kam Sam Supermarket on 300 N. Washington St. in Rockville- just off Rt. 355 and on to N. Washington, and down about a block on the right. (There is also another store at 4316 Markham St. in Annandale, VA.)  This store is also quite interesting, and we found the things we were looking for..good selection of foods, but also a good selection of Asian plates and dishes.  Much smaller than Grand Mart, but the prices and selections of items were quite good.  When we were checking out, the clerks were so nice and cheerful and friendly to us that they gave us for free, the items below.  Maybe it doesn't hurt that Paul speaks some decent Mandarin, and I know a little too..I can maybe speak like a Chinese baby. They were quite generous, friendly and kind. We used to live in Taiwan, Okinawa and Singapore. It reminded me of why we loved living in Asia- such kind generous and friendly people.
   Next we stopped at Maxim's, the Asian market on Rt. 355 that has been there for many compare and shop a bit more- almost across the street from the last store. We found the prices on almost all that we compared were a bit higher here than for Kam Sam, but they also do have good selections. Also, not so grand and big scale with selections like at Grand Mart.  Again, so friendly, generous, they gave us for free these interesting drinks of grass jelly at checkout. I think all these folks are encouraging us to continue shopping at their supermarkets. Fine with me - I love their prices and marvelous choices of interesting foods.  (I've never drank grass jelly drink- I'll let you know on how that turns out.  Any opinions are welcome on this.)
   So folks, if you haven't taken the plunge to wander into some of MoCo's fine ethnic grocery markets, please do - you won't be sorry. Most of these stores are open daily, every day, 8 am - 8 pm.  You will feel quite welcome there.  We certainly did. Thank you Grand Mart, Kam Sam and Maxim's for being Special, and for making us feel that way.
   And tonight I made a real nice and healthy dinner of rice, broccoli, chicken, and eggplants- 3 stirfry dishes.