a new toaster oven

We use our toaster oven almost daily. It was disconcerting, then, when we tried to toast our bread at breakfast and it would not turn on. Not always but sometimes. It was also of concern that the cord got hot. My brother, who is a firefighter, told us that was a fire hazard and that we should get a new toaster oven now and not wait for the after-Christmas sales. We were going to anyway, but that just reinforced our plan.

We went to Bed Bath & Beyond and found a model we liked. We brought it home only to discover that the timer on the toast setting did not work. It didn’t count down the time. It just sat there and burned the toast. We used it for a couple of days and realized that it wasn’t operator error; the timing mechanism was defective. I took it back to BB&B and got a refund.

I began searching on Amazon and found a model that looked really good. It was a Hamilton Beach six slice toaster oven with a convection setting. I ordered it and when it arrived we immediately put it to the test. We have toasted bread, made garlic bread, made open-faced sandwiches, and baked a frozen pizza with the convection setting. It’s much better than the microwave for warming up leftover deli pizza. We’re pleased.

One of the nice things about it is the way the lid opens up, so that we don’t have to reach inside to get our food. We didn’t particularly want to replace our toaster oven, but since we had to we think that we’ve made a very good choice.

toaster oven photos

Amazon comes through

Amazon Gift CardMy wife knows what to get me for my birthday. This year Terry gave me an Amazon gift card for my birthday back in August. That always works.

But when I went to redeem the gift card several weeks later I ran into problems. I pulled up the tape to get the redeem code and half of the redeem code came up with the tape. That doesn’t work. I submitted a support request to Amazon. They responded saying that they couldn’t find the gift card and to please submit an image of the card. I submitted what you see here. They responded saying that they had updated my account with the gift card balance. And indeed they had.

Thank you, Amazon. All’s well that ends well.

a return to comfort

We are cool again.

Our air conditioner died the Wednesday before last. It kept tripping the breaker. The repair man came out on Thursday and said we should get the breaker replaced. Fortunately I was able to get an electrician to come out right away and change the breaker. But the result was no different. Once again I was fortunate in getting the air conditioner people to answer the phone as they were on their way out the door and the service man was scheduled for Friday afternoon. After doing some additional checking he told us, in effect if not literally, “He’s dead, Jim.”

Air ConditionerThe repair man laid out for us a few different ways we could go, from replacing certain components to putting in a whole new unit. We opted for the latter choice. The first open date they had for installation was today.

As you can imagine we have had an uncomfortable twelve days. We spent a lot of time outside in the evening, we did a lot of grilling outside, and we bought a powerful Vornado fan for the bedroom. Somehow we managed.

The installers arrived around 8:15 this morning and left shortly before three. The air conditioner is working and we feel much better.

I have never taken my air conditioning for granted and am grateful to have it back.

listening to the Dodgers

I wrote about this not long ago, but a recent column by Bill Plaschke in the Los Angeles Times caused me to compose a more complete reflection. He asked how Dodger fans who didn’t have Charter Spectrum followed the team. This is my response, lightly edited.


Regarding your column in today’s [Thursday 24 August] paper:

When I returned to Southern California in 2015 after 41 years away my wife and I had to decide on our communications provider: Time-Warner Cable or Verizon. We chose Verizon because we had them in Santa Clara County and because TW had a reputation for awful service. We made this decision knowing full well that we would not get the Dodger games.

Dodgers yard bannerThere were times last year, Vin Scully’s last in the booth, when I momentarily regretted the decision, but then Vin was only doing home games. This year (Verizon having become Frontier and TW having become Charter Spectrum) my regrets are minimal. Seeing the game on KTLA on Tuesday [22 August] reminded me that I don’t like Joe Davis all that much, and I don’t terribly enjoy the Joe Davis – Orel Hershiser team. I would much rather listen to Charlie Steiner and Rick Monday on the radio. I also love listening to Rick doing play-by-play with Kevin Kennedy doing color.

KLAC doesn’t come in terribly well here in Hemet unless I’m in my car, but I have my MLB At Bat subscription.  My wife and I listen to jazz in the evening, but I follow the game on my iPad app, and if the Dodgers are about to pull out a victory I’ll punch up the audio and listen to Charlie call the ninth. It reminds me of listening to Dodger games on the radio with Vin Scully when I was a youngster.

When I was growing up maybe half a dozen games a year were broadcast on TV. Otherwise all we had was Vin Scully and Jerry Doggett on the radio. My family and I listened to Vin call Sandy Koufax’s perfect game on the radio on a hot evening in our living room. Nothing could have been more dramatic or exciting.

In my Bay Area years I listened to Hank Greenwald and later Jon Miller call Giants games on the radio, while I had Bill King and Lon Simmons for the A’s. With their marvelous word pictures I didn’t miss seeing the game on television at all.

Back here in SoCal I’m more than happy to listen to Charlie and Rick on the radio (even if it is via the internet). If Charlie is not making the road trip or doing television, I am content listening to Rick and Kevin. (And, by the way, Terry Smith is pretty darn good on the Angels radio broadcasts.)

Baseball is a sport very well suited to be followed on the radio. I don’t need TV to enjoy the game.

Mike Christie

listening to vinyl again

TurntableThe stereo system we have originally came from Terry’s first marriage, very long ago.  But those components were swapped out and replaced until the only original part was the turntable.  Some time back Terry tried pulling out a vinyl record only to discover that it got eighty percent through the album and stuck. Every album. Exactly the same place. I tried blowing canned air into where the tone arm meets the base of the turntable. No difference. I tried replacing the cartridge. No change.

We cast about looking for someone to repair the turntable. We only came up against dead ends. Finally Terry said we should just get a new turntable.  I found many on Amazon. I selected the option with the USB connection in addition to the RCA analog cables. That way we can digitize those albums we want to.

It’s nice to have access to our vinyl again.

a different hair experience

Sacred music Friday will return next week,
the Good Lord willing and the creek don’t rise.

When we left Gilroy in 2015 Terry and I left behind our loyal hair stylist, Debbie. Arriving here at Four Seasons I found Stephanie who worked at the salon on site. She at one point stopped spending time here and I saw her at her salon a few miles away. It was easy and simple. She gave me a quick, efficient haircut and charged me fifteen dollars. I gave her a twenty and was on my way. Not Debbie, but it sufficed.

hair stylists business cardsRecently Stephanie told me that she was moving. Her salon was being sold and the new owners had a different business model. She was moving to Menifee, a twenty-five minute drive away. That didn’t work for a ten-minute haircut. I went to a nearby salon and asked if they did men’s hair. They did, and made me an appointment with Taylor.

Taylor is a young guy whose sister and mom also work in the shop. We had a lot in common as he grew up in Hemet as did I. He graduated from Taquitz High School, which didn’t exist when I graduated from Hemet High many years ago. Taylor did a good job. He was thorough and complete, much more so than Stephanie. The bill was twenty-five dollars to which I added a five dollar tip.

It’s the difference between twenty and thirty dollars. It’s a difference that I’m happy to absorb given the added attention to detail.

hard to believe

It really is hard to believe that “many years from now” has arrived.