Tuesday, October 27, 2015

How I Hacked the K-cup Sensor on Our Keurig 2.0

We have been Keurig coffee drinkers for a couple of years now.  Our original machine, a first generation Keurig, failed within the warranty period (bad water pump, probably).  The manufacturer replaced it, quickly and without a hassle, with the newest model at the time ... the Keurig 2.0.  

When the new machine arrived, I opened the box, plugged it in, filled it with water, and tried to brew a cup of coffee ... got an error message instead.  Keurig 2.0 can only use 'genuine' Keurig coffee packs ... meaning the redesigned, proprietary cups, not the old Keurig ones that I already had in my pantry.  Grrrrr!!

I forgot about this, until yesterday.  In the back of the cupboard, I found a box of Sleepy Time tea in old-style K-cups.  This discovery prompted a bit of Internet reading ... and I figured out a simple way to defeat the Keurig's K-cup sensor so I can use my packs of tea.

I offer this VERY quick, easy tutorial, in case any of you find yourself in the same situation.

I read that the old-style cups don't work because there's an infrared sensor in the lid of the Keurig 2.0 which reads something on the label, so it only accepts the new K-cups.  What if I could fool the sensor?

Here's what I did:

I took my used K-cup from the morning's coffee, and I carefully cut it apart ... 

... leaving only the thin plastic edge that holds the label.

Insert old-style K-cup into the brewer ...

... and place your prepared new-style K-cup label on top of the old-style cup in the brewer. 

Close the brewer ... and the sensor reads the new-style label ... hack was successful!!

Tea time!!  (in the mug that I bought at St. Paul's Cathedral during my trip to England last year.)

I'm putting this out there to get my idea into cyberspace, to do what I can to help other frustrated Keurig users who may still have some old-style cups in the cupboard.  No need to throw them away, or give them to friends who still have functioning old-style brewers.  It really is THIS simple to fool the machine and enjoy a steaming cup of whatever you like.

Sunday, October 25, 2015

Sunday Snapshot: A Normal Sunday Morning

I'm sitting here in my favorite red leather chair, early on this drizzly, cool Sunday morning.  The scene around me is typical ... Ruby and Winnie sacked out on opposite ends of the sofa, and Dorothy snuggled beside me.

Reminds me of this cartoon that I see on line from time to time:

Surgery to restore the hearing in my left ear was ten days ago, and I'm almost 100% back to my usual active, ridiculously positive, self.  My impaired equilibrium , which was a result of the surgery, is almost completely normal, thank goodness.  Soon, I hope to put words to my experience (so far) of my brain's relearning how to process what I now can hear.  For a person who's as curious as I am, it's been VERY enlightening.

Happy Sunday, Everyone!!

Sunday, October 18, 2015

Sunday Snapshot: First Frost

The weather forecast warned that we were likely to receive our first frost of the season last night.  We did.

You can see the frost really clearly on the hood of our daughter's Jeep.

Today's date is right in the middle of the range in which we should expect our first frost.  For Fredericksburg, which is south of here by about 15 minutes, the average date is October 25.  For Culpeper and Warrenton, our closest neighbors to the north and west, the date is October 8.  

The temperature didn't stay cold enough for long enough to do damage to the more tender plants in the garden.  That's a good thing, because I totally forgot to bring in my potted plants that have been spending the summer outdoors.  I will consider this to be a gentle reminder to make time during the coming week to clear space for them to live till spring.

Thursday, October 15, 2015

"Pardon Me, I Didn't Hear What You Said."

I have been hard of hearing for as long as I can remember.  It started decades ago, and it's gradually built into a real hardship now.  If I'm talking to someone and they are not facing me, I can't hear what they're saying.  When I'm attending meetings, I barely catch the conversations and I struggle to comprehend what is being discussed.  TV?  I turned on the closed captions at least two years ago, so my family wouldn't have to tolerate the volume required for me to hear the dialog clearly.

A few months ago, I realized that I couldn't continue to live like this and I had to do something.  I made an appointment with a doctor for an evaluation and hearing test.  I have always blamed my hearing loss on the fact that I am a child of the 70s, with loud music blaring through headphones, rock concerts, etc.  The hearing test showed some of this ... but it was mostly a mechanical problem called Otosclerosis, a condition that causes the little resonating bones of the middle ear to deteriorate and fuse.  Fused bones means that less sound from the outside world is received and transmitted.  Fortunately, this is a condition that can be surgically corrected ... and yesterday was my surgery day.

This operation known is as a Stapedectomy.  It's all done through the ear canal with a microscope.  The doctor removes the Stapes (anvil) and replaces it with a tiny prosthetic.  This is done under general anesthesia, as same-day surgery in my case, and it's quick (takes about an hour for the operation and three hours in the recover room afterward).

My daughter took this photo, when she saw that Ruby crawled up here all by herself, to snuggle and comfort her patient.

It's good to be the first surgery of the day.  We had to be at the clinic at 6:30am, with surgery scheduled for 7:30, and I was out of there and headed for home at 11:30 ... where I spent the rest of the day vegging and napping.

Normal ear anatomy.

My left ear was done yesterday, because it was significantly worse than the right one.  Today, I have no pain, which is a blessing.  What I do have is slight trouble with my balance, a lot like a mild drunken stagger, which we expected to happen since the surgery site is so close to the inner ear.  I also have a really weird feeling in my tongue, where I have reduced taste sensation and my mouth tastes like pennies, which the doctor also warned me about.  (A nerve that serves the tongue runs through where the doctor was working and it can get irritated as a result.)  Both of these issues should resolve themselves soon.

Stapedectomy procedure.

My follow-up appointment with the doctor is on Monday.

I can already tell that my hearing is better, and I have been promised that it will continue to improve as things heal.  I really wonder what's out there that I have missed hearing.  I most look forward to following conversations, and to turning off the captions on the TV.  

In a few months, I get to do this all over again with my right ear ... and I can't wait!

Sunday, October 11, 2015

Sunday Snapshot ... Home.

Good morning!

I'm not supposed to be home this morning, but I am.  I should be finishing up an overnight stay in a hotel somewhere near Allentown, Pennsylvania.

Real life, unstaged view of this sunny Sunday morning.  Dorothy in my lap ...

When my husband and I made plans to travel to attend Doug's funeral yesterday, we decided to spend last night at a hotel and head toward home in the morning.  (It's a four-and-a-half hour drive from here to there.  Doing it all in one day didn't seem to be a wise idea.)  We figured that there would be no problem finding a hotel room for the night after we finished for the day ... we figured wrong.

Winnie snuggled under her down throw, with Ruby lounging on the other side of the sofa.

For some mysterious reason, every hotel we called was completely booked.  We started calling hotels near where we were in Allentown, then we progressed to calling hotels along our route toward home ... Reading, Lancaster, York ... nothing.  The clerks we spoke to were very helpful, and most could report the status of other hotels near them, but there was nothing else they could do for us.

So .... we drew in our breath, squinted our eyes with determination, and kept going.  When we reached Maryland, we were tired, but it seemed silly to attempt to stop with only two more hours to go.  In Virginia, road work on I-95 added an extra half hour to the trip.  We stopped a couple of times along the way, to stretch and walk around and work out the kinks that had developed from a total of 10+ hours in the car during the day.  Finally, at 12:45am, we pulled into our own driveway.

Now you see her, then you don't.  Having poked her head out to check on things, Winnie burrowed back into her 'cave'.

I have to admit, despite the grueling car trip, it was really nice to fall sleep and wake up in my own bed.  Yesterday was a whirlwind ... visitation, funeral, graveside, wake, and a stop at Doug's house to pick up plants ... but it was a good day.  Sharing memories and grief with dear friends lightens the load ... thank you very, very much for your concern ... we are all fine.

Since I'm not traveling today, I plan to be outside in the sunshine, working in the garden, listening to football ...  sounds like a perfect day!

Happy Sunday, Everyone!!

Saturday, October 10, 2015

A Very Special Arrangement

This is the arrangement that I made from the flowers that I gathered from the roses that grow at Hollywood Cemetery.  

Do what you can to spend some time with loved ones this weekend, and appreciate what they mean to you.  That's exactly what I will be doing ... as we gather to celebrate Doug later today.

Friday, October 9, 2015

Friday Flowers from Hollywood Cemetery

Yesterday was a beautiful day, with bright sunshine, mild temperatures, and a light breeze.  It was a perfect day to make the one-hour trip south to Hollywood Cemetery to gather flowers to take with me for Doug's funeral tomorrow.  

My first stop, as always, was to visit the Crenshaw Musk Rose.  Yesterday, I could smell it before I saw it, as its sweet fragrance wafted on the breeze.  Late summer and fall is the time when this rose is at its best.

Within this plant, which produces primarily the double-form flowers, is a section with canes that produce the more primitive five-petal single flowers.  I was able to gather sprays of both for my arrangement.



I next visited two plants that are special to me, the large Noisette on the Ritchie plot (which is very similar to the rose known as 'Mary Washington') and the smaller Noisette on the Bolling plot (which is grown at Tufton as "Hollywood Pink Cluster").

"Ritchie Noisette"

"Hollywood Pink Cluster"

There weren't very many other flowers for me to gather.  I needed ones that would hold for two days, and most of the other plants I visited had flowers that were too far open, and would fall apart in the next day or so, or had buds that were too immature to open within my time frame.  Not to worry, I have a plan.

This was my harvest from the cemetery.  I wish I could attach the fragrance of these beauties to this post, so you could experience how heavenly my kitchen smells because of them.

I can supplement these flowers from Hollywood with a few Noisette flowers from my own garden ... most of which came from Hollywood or Tufton originally, or are my own foundlings.  I will put my arrangement together later today, and I will show it to you tomorrow.

I can't leave you today before I thank you for the lovely comments and notes that you shared in response to my tribute to Doug in my last post.  I am comforted, and humbled, by your kindness.

Tuesday, October 6, 2015

Remembering Doug

Reverend Douglas Seidel passed away three days ago, early on Saturday morning, October 3.  He leaves behind an army of friends and family ... and I am proud to count myself among his friends.

This is the only photo I can find of Doug and me.  It was taken in Lynchburg, in 2011.  That's Doug in the center of the back row.

I remember when I first heard about Doug.  I was reading In Search of Lost Roses by Thomas Christopher, not long after I discovered the wonders of old, unknown roses, some time in the early 2000s.  The author described how Doug, as a teen, partnered with Leonie Bell (who is not mentioned by name) to travel the Pennsylvania countryside to document and collect roses at abandoned sites and in cemeteries ... does this sound like someone else you know?

Photo of Doug with "Hollywood Pink Cluster" in 2001.
Photo by Peggy Cornett.

"Hollywood Pink Cluster"

I remember the first time that I saw Doug in person.  He was the banquet speaker at a district meeting of the ARS's Colonial District in Staunton, Virginia.  Doug's program was mesmerizing, and I remember sitting there in awe of the history of our repeat-flowering roses and their origins in the ever-blooming roses imported from China in the late 18th century.  I don't think that most of the audience that evening fully appreciated who he was or what he had to say.  

I did not approach Doug that evening, as I tend to get a bit tongue-tied when I'm around people that I admire.  I used to rationalize that it was best to remember a pleasant evening, rather than regret having said something completely stupid.  (I'm not so much like this anymore, thank goodness.)

A group of rose lovers, including Doug, Dennis Whetzel, and Peggy Cornett, in front of the "Crenshaw Musk Rose" at Hollywood Cemetery in 2001.
Photo by Kent Krugh.

"Crenshaw Musk Rose"

I remember when I first spoke to Doug.  It was the morning after that program in Staunton.  I was on the hotel elevator ... the elevator stopped at a lower floor, the door opened, and there was Doug.  I had been mentally kicking myself for passing on the chance to meet him in person the night before, and I was not going to let this new opportunity slip by.  I introduced myself, told him how much I loved his program, and we then spent the next two hours in the hotel lobby talking and getting acquainted.  I still get goosebumps when I think about it.

Doug and I exchanged contact information as we parted that day, and we promised to keep in touch.  He stubbornly refused to use computers, relying mostly on hand-written notes and phone calls.  I always had a notebook nearby and a pen in hand whenever I spoke to him, whether in person or on the phone, because I never knew what our conversations would be.  What to him may have been a tired story or insignificant fact, could be a valuable clue to to some mystery that I may have been thinking about.  I wanted to make certain that I remembered it all.

Doug with "Red Smith's Parish" at Presidents Circle, Hollywood Cemetery.
Photo by Kent Krugh.

"Red Smith's Parish"

Through my friendship with Doug, I have met many more like-minded rose people.  It is through him that I got to know the people at Monticello's Tufton Farm.  Doug was the force behind the Leonie Bell Noisette Garden, where I have been working for the past few years to help preserve the roses there.  Some of the plants in the Bell Garden were Doug's own, donated as a tribute to Mrs. Bell (he always called her Mrs. Bell), his mentor who nurtured that curious young man and helped him awaken a lifetime love of old roses.

Doug with 'Alba Odorata Bracteata' in Hollywood Cemetery, 2001.
Photo by Kent Krugh.

'Alba Odorata Bracteata'

I remember when Doug told me that he had been diagnosed with cancer ... an aggressive form of prostate cancer that had already spread to his bones.  He and I kept in touch regularly during that time, as I was a link to Tufton and to Hollywood Cemetery, and he listened intently as I told him of my work in both of those places.  He told me over and over of his experiences there and other places ... and I took notes.  

Doug had hoped to see the Bell Garden again, but he never did.  He took comfort in the fact that the rare roses planted there are safe, having been propagated and shared with individuals and nurseries.  (I still have a few roses there to propagate, which I hope to do in the next couple of weeks.)

Doug and the group with "Oak Avenue Tea" at Hollywood Cemetery in 2001, which he identified as 'William R. Smith'.
Photo by Kent Krugh.

"Oak Avenue Tea" ... aka, 'William R. Smith'

I remember one of the last times I talked to Doug.  It was in June of this year, after I sent him a surprise package full of roses and photos.  (He had been scheduled to speak at the rose festival at the Old City Cemetery in Lynchburg, but he had to cancel because of his health.  I was going to bring roses to him, unknown roses from my garden and from Hollywood Cemetery, for him to identify.)  He said that he was so excited to open that box ... full of old friends, as he called them.  One of the things he told me is that my "Tidewater Trail" is a rose that he has found in many places throughout his part of Pennsylvania.

Doug and Dennis Whetzel, identifying roses during the Open House at Tufton Farm, 2011.

I will remember Doug as a friend, a mentor, and a confidante ... someone from whom I learned so much, who awakened and nurtured my own love of roses and of discovery.  I will be with Doug's friends and family as we will gather this weekend, to remember him and to say goodbye.

I will ALWAYS remember Doug ... with my memories and notes, through continuing friendships, and with some of his roses that live in my garden ... and I will always think of him and smile.

Saturday, October 3, 2015

Presenting ... Lots of Random Stuff

Blogging is a habit.  When I do it often, which hasn't happened in quite a while, it feels natural to sit down and put together a reasonable post and get on with life afterward.  When I put it off, and get out of the habit by letting other things take my blogging time, it's not so easy to get the old juices flowing.  I'm rusty, but I'm going to give this a go ... and I'm going to catch you up on all sort of stuff that has happened here in the past few weeks.  

I will start with "Roses, Wines, and Canines," our Greyhounds Rock fundraiser gathering that was held here last Sunday.  Our weather was perfect (cloudy and mild, with a light breeze) and our guests and vendors (and volunteers) had a really great time.  We raised about $1700 for GRF to donate to The Greyhound Health Initiative ... and we are already planning ways to make things even better when we do it all again next year.

We set up a big party tent ...

... and a designated fenced play space for our guests' dogs.

Anu and Myth waited patiently in their ex-pen while we set up on Friday.

My favorite part of our events, The Blessing of the Hounds.  Can you find me in the crowd?

While I'm on the subject of Greyhounds Rock ... I have been spending at least one day per week sewing collars to keep the GRF inventory up.  Sugar Skull collars continue to be the biggest seller, and it's difficult to keep a selection of them in stock.  Last week at the fabric store, I picked up two new skull fabrics.

A view of part of our collar inventory at our table at the recent Fredericksburg Pet Expo.  See Ruby in the background?

Dorothy was helping, as I laid out fabric to cut the strips that would be turned into collars.

This new fabric reminds me of the art used for The Beatles "Yellow Submarine"

Ruby is modeling the other new pattern, which I am calling "Hearts and Roses Skulls"

I am also making fleece dog toys for the GRF store.  I have a ton of fleece in my stash, and this is a way to use part of it and clear out space in my sewing room.

Fleece toy, which sells for $10.

Maggie thinks the pile of fleece is a high-rise cat bed.

It's not been 'all work and no play' for me, not hardly.  I make time to do fun stuff, too.  A few weeks ago, my husband and I skipped out for the day and went to see the NASCAR Xfinity Series race in Richmond.

It was an evening race.

Dinner is served.

Dessert, which lasted almost until the end of the race.

Post-race ceremonial burn-out by the winner.

Speaking of cars ... I have been spending some time re-learning to drive my Mustang.  Over the summer, it went to the shop and had a transmission transplant.  The car started life its life in 1966 as an automatic, and that's what it was when we bought it in 2002.  Now, thanks to the genius of my mechanic, it has a factory-correct 4-speed manual transmission and a very sporty Hurst shifter.  It has been decades since I drove a stick shift, and I was pleased to find that the muscle memory of clutch and shift is still there.  

Oooohhh ... shiny.

This new shifter is not so foreign to me anymore.

Lots of people I know go all out to decorate for Halloween.  I am not one of those people.

I got a colorful sugar skull wreath at Target for the front door ...

... and a haunted house nightlight plug in at Bath and Body Works.

Halloween and haunted houses makes me think of Poe, which brings me to my next bit of random-ness.  In May, Sharon (Goth Gardener) and I spent an evening at the monthly Unhappy Hour at the Poe Museum in downtown Richmond.  We had our picture taken in their photo booth ... and it was just posted on the museum web site earlier this week.  We were being so silly!

Photo booth photo.

Sharon took this one of me with a new friend.

September is a very busy time next door at Hartwood Winery.  My husband and I spent two Saturdays over there, harvesting grapes from the vineyard with other volunteers ... total harvest was six tons of red grapes and seven tons of white grapes ... all used to make Hartwood's wines.

Picking red Chambourcin grapes on September 13 ...

... with my husband and my sister ...

... and white Vidal grapes on September 26.

Yesterday was my birthday ... 56.  It's a number that I wear proudly.  I am what I am ... no sense in skirting the issue.  Besides, thanks to my parents and some fortunate genetics, I have never really looked my age.  That was a bit of a problem when I was younger and got carded all the time.  Now, I think of it as a blessing.

My husband's present to me was this cow that was painted by his friend Ed King.

I spent part of the day gathering and editing the photos in this post, with Dorothy chilling in my lap.

That brings us up to the present ... which is cold and rainy, as the remains of a coastal storm passes through our area.  There was concern that Hurricane Joaquin would affect us tomorrow and/or Monday, but that storm has turned eastward and should not be a factor for us at all.  My garden loves the rain that it has received (with this current storm and with a previous one last week).  Happy garden = Happy gardener.

Now it's your turn.  What have you been up to since we last 'talked'?

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