Category Archives: recommendations

A-HI Computers and Electronics — a cool little place

For several years, we have been taking electronics to A-HI in Norwood when they need to be fixed. Most recently, I had him repair a pair of Quincy Jones headphones. A-HI comes from Alan H. Immerman’s initials. Cool name! I know it’s been awhile, because I originally found him in the Yellow Pages under “Electronics — Repair and Service.”

Alan Immerman, Proprietor

The shop is tiny and packed with every variety of electronic, from the most current flat-screen TV to vintage printers and stereo components.


Every time Alan fixes something for a customer, he attaches this note to the receipt:

The Economics of Repair, or…
Where did our jobs go..?

       When we throw away an electronics product, it goes into a landfill and rusts. We then purchase new products, which are made more cheaply, and our money goes to Korea and China. An alternative is to have our older products repaired. A repair might cost as much or even more than a cheaper replacement, but often the older units are built better – more ruggedly constructed and able to be serviced. Dollars spent locally on repairing older products provide jobs here and now in Cincinnati, and our money stays in the U.S.A., instead of going to foreign lands.

Something to think about?

If you happen to think it’s valuable to consider fixing something electronic, this is the place to go. His prices are reasonable; his work is excellent; and there’s definitely a unique charm to the entire experience.

You can find A-HI Computers and Electronics at 4030 Montgomery Rd., Cincinnati, OH 45212. The phone number is 531-1111. More information at

For readers not in the Cincinnati area, I bet you have your own version of this little shop in your area. Today may not officially be Small Business Saturday — I think that is sometime in November — and, oh, it’s actually Friday today, isn’t it, but I highly recommend this business. Give it a try when you need something fixed!

Scribbling about Scrabble

There’s Scrabble you play with your emerging child speller where you cheer the word “duk” because she is sounding out words and trying to spell them. No score is kept in this game and most rules are either bent or completely disregarded.

There are the Scrabble games you play online with friends, or sometimes with people who have nothing better to do, evidently, than play Scrabble online, as evidenced by their used of the word “vquex” to score 114 points on a triple word play.

There are the Scrabble games that someone somewhere must play where you use a board, tiles, and the actual rules. I don’t know anyone who does that, though.

And then . . . . there is Northwoods Scrabble. The board pictured here is an actual game I recently played (I promise, Iris) with two of my children. In Northwoods Scrabble, the idea is to create a word using the tiles on your rack, giving the definition for it after you put the word on the board. While this may suffer from a bit of ‘you had to be there’ syndrome, here are a few of our definitions:

eieio — Mr. McDonald’s first name.

boqapowa — bonfire lit by Norwegians making sandwiches for a trip to Germany.

utanlui — animal which a cross between an Utan and a Lui. Found only in Pakistan.

eicoolie (i-chew-lee) — trout disease which turns scales yellow.

and finally

vepzuneri — a Swedish boat constructed from dried utanlui skins and colored with eicoolie-infected trout oil.

How LOW can you GO?

Glycemically and hydratedly speaking, apparently too low. I found this out the hard way yesterday as I found myself looking up into a circle of concerned faces who were saying, “Siouxsie, do you know where you are?” My first answer to that was, “mmmghj.” You see, although I thought I was taking into consideration the fact that I had just worked out and was now giving blood, apparently, I put myself into a deficit situation, and after I perkily gave blood and jauntily answered the “How are you feeling?” question before I got out of the chair, my body had other ideas. As I sat at the table and tried to get some juice and cookies into me, I knew it was going to be too little too late and I croaked out, “I’m not feeling too good!” Next thing I knew, I woke up looking at this circle of faces wondering WHERE in the world I could possibly be.

Well, I’ll spare you the gory details of the whole process of getting back on my feet. Let’s just say part of it involved a bucket with a red bag in it. I would guess it took about an hour to feel good enough to leave. My blood pressure was fine, start to finish, at least when they were taking it. I suppose it must have gotten a little wonky during the fainting.

I spent the rest of the day resting and feeling pretty shaky and sleepy and weak. I abandoned the low-glycemic eating for the day because I just wanted to make sure I got to feeling better.

So, I’ll share my learning with you:

1. Do NOT workout and then go give blood.
2. Do NOT think a protein shake is a “good meal” to have before you give blood.
3. Do NOT workout, forget to drink much water afterward, and then give blood. This leads to dehydration.
4. DO drink water if you faint from dehydration — it makes you feel much better than nasty old Sierra Mist.
5. Do NOT think you can never give blood again just because you spend an hour of your afternoon on the floor of the Donation Center.
6. DO put a cold cloth on your stomach if you are nauseated — it helps the nausea settle.
7. DO make sure that if you decide to change your eating style, you still get enough to eat.

Last, but not least, I know this post has been an excellent time for me to exhort all my readers to give blood. It really is an important service and does save lives. So, if you don’t give blood currently, just re-read the list of do’s and don’t’s above, and get out there and save some lives!

One Small Change is Changing My Life

Somehow I came across this book title months ago and put it on reserve at the library. I picked it up this week and read right through this little book. Dr. Maurer takes the concept of “kaizen” (continuous improvement) which is an important part of the Toyota Production System and lean manufacturing in general, and applies it to non-manufacturing settings.

I suppose we’ve all heard that you eat an elephant one bite at a time, but I have never been able to apply that idea when it comes to the daily issues I face. And most of the “big” issues I have tend to feel overwhelming to me.

Major learning points from this book:

**Our brains are designed to respond with fear when faced with change and the amygdala is the brain part that controls the fight-or-flight response.
**We typically respond to the need for change by using “innovation,” which is the drastic process of change. I don’t know about you, but when I need to start exercising after a period of sedentary inactivity, I do NOT start by walking 16 steps down the street and back (or whatever the doctor tells you about starting slowly). I do a TOUGH WOMAN’S workout and do a two-mile run/walk no matter how long it has been since I have exercised. I ignore the aching feet and muscles and pretend like my heartrate is just fine.
**The alternative to innovation is “kaizen,” which means small continuous changes.

How this works in my life:

I usually have 500-600 (exaggeration maybe) huge things I must make decisions about — anything from what to cook for dinner (very huge issue) to whether or not one of my kids should do a certain activity to how in the world to fit in a date night this week to wondering if I will ever get Kepler off the bedtime ice-water bottle he loves. ETC. My amygdala seems to be PARTICULARLY adept at the “flight” part of fight-or-flight so whenever I am faced with a decision, I almost immediately get overwhelmed and get the heck OUT of there.
(Isn’t she cute?)

I learned TWO things that made this a really FINE week.

1. Tiptoe past fear by contemplating small changes that allow the amygdala to stay in its happy state of hibernation.
2. Ask small questions that also bypass the whole fight-or-flight nightmare.

Examples of #1.

I have six dining room chairs that need to be re-upholstered (backs and seats, separately), and really look pretty dirty and ratty. I believe the idea of reupholstering probably came to me about 1 year ago, and I got the fabric at about the same time. But the thought of all the work involved, and the unknowns of the process, and getting the chairs to my mom’s for her pneumatic stapler, and buying the foam and the right amount of foam, and, well you get the picture. When I contemplate all that, a bag of Lime Chips and a nap usually get me calmed down.

This week I asked myself: What is one step I could take to getting my chairs reupholstered? Answer: Reupholster the back of one chair. Did I do it? Yes. Do I feel like I really accomplished something — I sure do.

Another example was looking at cooking dinner but using the kaizen method. Usually, I experience a doomdart when I remember ain’t nothin’ going to be on the table unless I put it there, and then I realize that I need to go to the grocery, and remember I do not ever feel like I am on top of having a good inventory of food, and oh no, I haven’t given the kids any vegetables for five days unless ketchup counts, and the reason I’m overweight is because I don’t have a meal plan, and well you probably get the picture again. Again, a bag of Lime chips and a nap help, but I usually have to add in a handful of chocolate chips too.

This week I asked myself: What is one dinner that sounds good to me? Answer: chicken cordon bleu, rice, salad, sliced peaches and a nice loaf of bread. Did I cook this for dinner on Thursday? I did. Do I feel like I really accomplished something — I sure do.

And there are many other examples from this week of how I applied and used this idea in my life.

I feel a lot less like this:

and a lot more like this:

Minor League Baseball — Good for What Ails Ya

My brilliant sister-in-law Terry thought of taking us to see the Iowa Cubs play tonight. Not only did we go to the game, but Terry and Jeff know like everyone in Des Moines, and were able to get parking passes, and a pass to the Cub Club, a restaurant where you can eat and watch the game at the same time. Way fun.

The kids all ended up with souvenirs — t-shirts, hats, mini bats, and even a real baseball for Kepler.

The evening was made slightly challenging by “Jim,” an employee of the ballpark who was intent on doing his job well and made sure none of us got concussions by sitting on the railing, and that none of us were trying to pull a fast one on the Cubbies by trying to sit in seats without tickets. He was a friendly guy, but really wanted to make sure no one tried to pull the wool over his eyes.

The Cubs were kind enough to win, and it was just a great ending to a very nice day.

The Dinette Set – Why do I Love it?

This comic makes me laugh out loud every single day. I’ve put an RSS feed on the right side of my blog in case you would like to see more Dinette Set comics. This lady is brilliant at capturing the lives of her comic characters.

The Dinette Set’s website says: The Dinette Set is an in depth study of banality and entitlement within American Middle Class Culture. From small towns, to sprawling Suburbia to major cities, an inane, repetitive lifestyle persists and is growing. The Dinette Set takes a wryly brutal aim at the world of mindless consumerism and the mentality that fosters it. The Dinette satirizes middle class culture, incorporating thought provoking observations of the human condition that viewers will instantly identify with. The little notes to self that inhabit the backgrounds via t-shirts, kitchen chalk boards and coffee mugs are priceless.

The Incredible Hulk movie is pretty Incredible

Tonight’s date was to the movies to see The Incredible Hulk. When I heard Edward Norton was in the movie, I knew I wanted to see it. So, Greg and I went to the movies. Two dates in the space of one month! This is a good thing.

And this is a good movie. I don’t know if “Love Conquers All” is one of the subtitles or not, but it is definitely one of the themes. The music was great and the actors did a great job. Looks like there will be a sequel, judging from the end of the movie.

I don’t want Greg to take our kids to see it in the theater, though. The sheer immensity of the sounds and sights seem like they are more than a teenager or pre-teen should really be exposed to. I don’t mind if they see the movie with us at home, but I don’t want them to see it in the theater. Plus, there is one scene I would like to fast-forward through for them, and you can’t do that in the theater.

It was super fun to see The Courtship of Eddie’s Father showing on a TV at the beginning of the movie, and to see Lou Ferrigno in a small role as a security guard.

Our only question lingering after the movie — at one point Dr. Banner was called Bruce, and at another point, he received mail addressed to David B. I remember that his name in the original show was David Banner, so this is a mystery.

And, by the way, I do love to watch Edward Norton act. He is SO good. I have seen him in Fight Club, Death to Smoochy, The Illusionist, The Painted Veil, Anerican History X, and Keeping the Faith. I think I need to see Keeping the Faith again, because that was before I became such a big fan. The movies I would recommend include The Illusionist, The Painted Veil, and of course, The Incredible Hulk.

Until next time,