Yet Another Journal

Nostalgia, DVDs, old movies, television, OTR, fandom, good news and bad, picks, pans,
cute budgie stories, cute terrier stories, and anything else I can think of.

 Contact me at yetanotherjournal (at) mindspring (dot) com

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» Sunday, March 19, 2017
Organize Me! Organize Me!

Sleeping late and getting organizational goodies? I like it!

But first it started with dog walking and then a trip to Costco to get mushrooms and popcorn (and peas, and "Life's" salute to World War I and a couple of other things), and fill up on gasoline. It was a sunny blue-sky day, and cool enough that in the morning the sun felt good, and after we got fueled up we headed east–

–directly into a roadwork traffic jam. Can't escape it even on Sunday. Good thing James knows the surface streets (unfortunately he knows this from too many trips to the Glenlake Kaiser office).

We stopped at REI looking for a fanny pack to replace my very tired one (and it's tired because it's at least eight years old, as I discovered when I posted a "Flashback Friday" photo to Facebook and saw it around my waist in 2009). I did find a nice one and we also found a couple of stocking stuffer gifts. We love looking at the little gadgets like the multitool cards and keychain multitools. May have to come back for some gifts for our technically-inclined friends.

Then we hit Barnes & Noble to use the rest rooms and checked out the magazines. Some of them are so pretty, like the Somerset craft magazines, but they seem to be made for a different woman than I am. It's all gauzy clothes, pretty shoes, bouquets of flowers, vases, fluttery curtains, fragrances, designer items, embossed stationery, wine...that's someone I'm really not.

Alas, it looks like I will have to wait yet another week for "Breathe."

Finally to the Container Store, more gadget browsing, and bought what I needed, some plastic file holders to bring order to the craft room. They were on sale so I bought two each small, medium, and large.

By then it was so late breakfast had worn off, so we had lunch at Panera, then headed home; we arrived at almost four o'clock. During the afternoon James cooked up some more burritos for his breakfasts while I put my jewelry-making item boxes in one of the large file holders, and then hung the Command hooks I bought in the bathroom so I can hang up the parts of the Hurricane Spin gadget. Once I do that I can fold up the portable clothes dryer that's sitting in the Jacuzzi tub we never use, and the master bath will look less cluttered.

We had leftovers for supper and watched Galaxy Quest on Encore; I still miss Alan Rickman. He was a joy in everything he appeared in; he was certainly the best part of Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves!

Oh, I wish it wasn't Sunday again. I don't object to working, but getting up in the dark, before six, and then having to drive just makes me want to start trembling and not quit. Driving in traffic wigs me out more and more every day. Last Wednesday it took me ninety minutes to get the 21 miles home. I get to work in the morning sleepy and curled up like a pretzel; on the way home the sun gives me a headache and I'm hungry and when I finally arrive I have to unbend painful stiff limbs because I've been so tense in stop-and-go traffic. Sometimes I start feeling claustrophobic in the car and have to hold it at bay because it's the only way to get home.

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» Saturday, March 18, 2017
Deja Vu Bookstore

When James got home from work last night, I told him I wanted to go up to Town Center as I had some good JoAnn coupons. So we had supper at the Twisted Noodle, which was good except that I made the mistake of including green peppers in the mix. I re-tasted those peppers all night. I did get the goodies in JoAnn: hooks to hang up the parts of the Hurricane Spin cleaner and a small sketchbook. I also picked up the first two Peter Grant mysteries in Barnes & Noble with coupons I had. I read the first as an e-book and liked it enough that I want the whole series in print.

We had to go to bed fairly early since James had to work today. He was up at the crack of 6:50; I was so sleepy that I didn't crawl out of bed until ten. I walked the dog, made some toast and ate that with a milk chaser, and then ran out to do an errand: I still had more JoAnn coupons. I'd just worn a flannel shirt over my short sleeved top with Tucker, but by the time I reached JoAnn it was almost too warm for it. I got a container to hold the heads of the Hurricane Spin cleaner and a set of "eraser pencils" (instead of lead they have erasers for small spots), then went next door to Michaels to get a pencil roller. Then I went back to Barnes & Noble for the next two Peter Grant books.

(I really, really hate the changes on the shelves. Yes, the new books are turned face out. I still rather have the new books together. B&N said they did this to put more books on the shelves. You'd have room for the books if you didn't have so many damn toys and gadgets in the store. This is a bookstore, not Toys'r'Us.)

I headed home via the freeway so I could stop at Tin Drum and pick up a cheap lunch. It took me longer to drive home than it did to get my food. Traffic was particularly bad between Town Center and Cumberland Mall, especially where they are adding more lanes near Windy Hill Road (the plebian parking for the new Braves stadium is between Windy Hill Road and Windy Ridge Road where the monstrosity sits).

James still had three and a half hours of durance vile to go, so I ate my teriyaki and watched two episodes of Rick Steves' Europe, and set up a little "grab and go" craft bag. Michaels has these little "art totes" for $5 each. I put the small sketchbook and the now-filled pencil roll (a dozen drawing pencils and a dozen colored pencils, plus an eraser) on one side, and two plastic photo boxes containing small cross-stitch projects on the other. Toss in a small coloring book and a paperback/e-reader and it's a go. I used some beads to put an ID on it. (And just to make it perfect, I tucked a dozen watermelon candies in it, too.)

James had looked at a book at Barnes & Noble last night that he decided he wanted to pick it up tonight with a coupon he had. So back up to Town Center we went, having supper at Uncle Maddio's Pizza Joint (their pizza crusts are sooooo good), and then stopping by the bookstore for his choice. I now know the magazine racks by heart. :-) Still no new "Breathe" yet, though.

We also stopped at Publix, and after getting all we needed, realized all that was left was to get milk, so we got that there, too. (Well, okay. James forgot the mushrooms. We go through inordinate amounts of mushrooms.) And then it was time for home.

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» Tuesday, March 14, 2017
Winter Hangs On
After a fitful winter where the temperatures have pretty much not gotten under fifty and have hovered around 70 several times, it's now disconcerting to have nearly a week of highs in the forties and, later in the week, fifties. Sunday and Monday were grey and damp, with a sharp edge to the wind, and it continued today, with the wind's sharpness unchecked; in fact it might have been even colder today, with the occasional snowflake coming out of nowhere and grazing the cheek. Covered in flannelette and layered in flannel, for serious expeditions (like dog-walking) I am bundled in my heaviest jacket with the hood and a lined hat, but I have also dashed outside in the wonderful garment I got at Hallmark last summer, a woolly square which can be a scarf, a shoulder throw, a shawl, and even, unfolded all the way, a light throw. It is surprisingly warm, if not as large as the shawl pictured here.

When James got home I ran out to help him with the chair with it in shawl format, half covering my head, feeling like Jo March running out to the post office box between the Marches and the Lawrences to see what treasures there were today.

Even Tucker has eschewed his usual begging to go outside or run outside on the deck to lie curled up in a tight ball: this morning I found him in James' computer chair, this morning he was in his "cave" on a chair under the dining room table, and this afternoon he was snuggled up on his fleece in front of the hearth, nose firmly tucked into his flank and tail wrapped around his haunches. He didn't even follow me downstairs when I took the laundry down and discovered the heat was off downstairs; not sure how that happened, but it was 59°F down there!

Since it is Daylight Wasting Time I still have ample illumination to stare out the back windows and watch the wind tossing the trees with their brown leaves still attached. It's been a funny spring, with half the trees blooming, budding, or leafing, and the rest still twiggy and bare, showing their skeletons to the world, or holding on to the faded copper remnants of last year's raiment. Looks bleak and sad, but still better than the 78 it's going to be next week (ugh).

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» Sunday, March 12, 2017
Daylight Wasting Time

Urgh. Never sleep well after DST, and this morning was no exception. James got up earlier than me, but I didn't drag out of bed until ten. While James took Tucker out, I went around finishing turning the clocks and all the timers ahead. Thank God the computers and the tablets and the television take care of themselves.

Daylight Saving was wasted on today as it was uniformly grey and gloomy and damp and chilly. Sometime around noon we went out to Kroger with James' "Kroger bucks" and some coupons and bought milk and salad fixings and other edible items (plus a few things for Atomicon). Since we had to go out to Dallas Highway to get decent bread from Kroger, we decided to stop at the new Sprouts about a half mile up from the Kroger. I was very happy because next door to it was a Petco and I needed to get Snowy more birdseed.

Well, we found soup for supper at Sprouts—if there was any day for soup, this was it—and some meat on sale, but the Petco trip was a bust: the new store doesn't open until tomorrow! Several other people heading for the door were disappointed, too, including a couple with a dachshund cross who was eager to go in. So we had to change course on the way home and hit the Petsmart on the East-West Connector. They had three chartreuse-colored budgies who reminded me so much of our Pigwidgeon.

By the time we got home, James had to jump and make himself more breakfast burritos, and by the time he finished that, it was time for supper and some television. We have found ourselves hooked on Masterchef Junior because the kids are so cute, but missed the one where adorable little Eddie got "kicked off the island." So I found it online via the web browser on the television, but it refused to play. Basically to see it I had to download the "Fox Now" app on my tablet, and then do a screen cast to the television. So stupid.

Had a terrible sinus headache most of the day until I had the soup, and basically finished off the night reading latest paperback entry in the "Royal Spyness" mysteries. This was a good meaty entry, with "Georgie" meeting her cousins Princesses Louise and Beatrice (Queen Victoria's daughters), and contending with a body that shows up at Kensington Palace.

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» Saturday, March 11, 2017
Bibliophile's Weekend

Usually I would sleep in on Friday, but this Friday was different: I was up promptly at 7:30 to eat, walk the dog, and then head for the Cobb County Library annual book sale, a story told here. From there I went to the Macland Publix to pick up this week's twofers, except they were out of Uncle Ben's rice, and had no baguettes, Toufeyan wraps, or lamb. I decided to treat myself to pork fried rice from Dragon 168; haven't been there since last spring. While the scent tormented me all the way home, the resultant feast was a bit of a bust. There have been times that Dragon's dishes have been much too greasy, but this was so dry that it had little taste.

I spent the rest of the afternoon gloating over the books, putting some of the groceries away, finishing my book reviews for February, and reading the rest of Tasha Alexander's The Adventuress, which had a predictable solution but did get creepy toward the end.

We had supper at Ken's Grill and hit the Smyrna Publix for the missing items before heading home.

James had trouble sleeping, but he was still up early to eat breakfast in time to go to the model contest the IPMS society was throwing this weekend. I left on his heels and went back to the book sale. The cream of the crop is gone with the Friday buyers, but there are only a few people there on Saturday morning and you can browse what's left at your leisure. The few things I picked up are listed at the bottom of this entry. I almost picked up a book of Canadian winter photographs, but I figured one coffee-table book semiannually is enough. ☺

Next I went up to the Barnes & Noble on Dallas Highway to see if the new "Breathe" was on the newsstand. Well, not there. I had a coupon with me and bought the third book in the "St. Mary's" series. I was a bit aghast because they no longer have books in a "new release" section for each genre. How will I see if new books by my favorite authors are out? Or find new books/series to read? I have always relied on the displays to show me interesting new things. Phooey.

Next I had lunch at the Panera in the same shopping center. They were massively crowded the entire time I was there, but I just sat down with My Small Country Living and happily read until my soup showed up (they had people delivering the soup rather than you going to get it). But the lack of "new release" shelves and no "Breathe" had me curious to see if I could have better luck at Town Center. But how to avoid Barrett Parkway, which is a mess on a Saturday? Used an alternate route: went up Due West Road instead, like I was heading for Books-a-Million, then turned east on Due West Kennesaw, which brings me out north of the road, but at least I don't have to drive on it.

By then, however, my low gas light was on, so I stopped first at Costco to fill up. It was chilly and rainy up on that hill, but the fresh air felt good after the stuffy atmosphere at the book sale and in Panera. Then I went through the back way to get to Barnes & Noble. Skunked again! I guess this is a new trend at the store. It just made me grumpy, so I went home and had some chocolate. Was completely absorbed in reading My Small Country Living even after James arrived home.

We had a coupon for O'Charley's, so had dinner there, and I finished the book late into the night, having completely forgotten to turn the clocks ahead, so I had to rush around at least pushing the clocks ahead upstairs. There are eleven clocks and six timers for me to change. [eyeroll] Damn, I hate DST. I saw my last sunrise yesterday; won't see another one now (unless there is some emergency—please, no, God) until a few weeks before and after the summer solstice. I hate driving to work in the pitch darkness.

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» Saturday, March 04, 2017
Time Just Flu

James' cold and congestion just grew overnight after the Sunday of Anachrocon and he was up all Sunday night coughing. While if you are squeaky-clean healthy Kaiser will let you cool your heels in misery for a week before they prescribe anything, with his health problems James can call anytime. So I stayed home to telework and took him to the doctor at the appointed time. We saw the nurse practitioner; she had blood taken and checked things; he had no fever (in fact, he was around 97°F), and his lungs were clear. So she prescribed something for the cough so he could sleep, gave us additional antihistamines and told us to buy Coricidine and have him rest, and we visited the pharmacy and the vampires and went home.

The cough was still a pain Monday night. We both got up and teleworked, although we were both pretty punchy from lack of sleep. Wednesday we both went into work, although I wish James had remained teleworking; he'd still coughed a lot during the night, waking us both up. I had just gotten everything printed and was starting a new order at a little after eleven when I got a text: he was feeling terrible, it hurt sharply when he coughed, and he had the chills. I wrote Puli an e-mail and went tearing out like Dale Ernhardt, running into traffic jam after jam although it wasn't even noon. When I got home James was huddled up in a flannel shirt, flushed, shivering. Kaiser said to go to urgent care, so we trucked up to Town Center. Apparently everyone else was sick, too, as the waiting room looked like a convention of bank robbers with their masks on. It took us nearly two hours just to get triaged and then there were so many people they had to put us back in the waiting room for a while. When we were finally called back, James was miserably hunched not only in the flannel shirt over his work shirt, but wrapped in Twilight's car blanket because his chills were so bad.

So we were there from one to after seven-thirty, with James having various tests, and watching the most god-awful TV. I can't remember what was on in the waiting room, but it's stuff I won't let Snowy watch because it will rot his little birdie brain. In the treatment room they had Bravo on, and, no kidding, whatever was on involved two young woman looking at dildoes. Finally I found Animal Planet and dogs were on all afternoon. I finished reading an ARC called Falcon Wild about a teenage girl and her falcon who are lost in the wilderness after she sets out going for help for her father, who is pinned in their car after an accident. I really enjoyed it. James had a temp of nearly 102 and they swabbed his nose, drained more blood, x-rayed his chest, and the verdict was...he has Type-A flu.

Yes, he had a flu shot this year. The nurse told me this year's flu shot is only 15 percent effective.

Oh, yeah, and he has pneumonia. He had a pneumonia shot this year, too. And a booster. ::black look::

So after they gave him over two hours worth of IV saline and antibiotics, we headed home in the middle of Jeopardy, having picked up antibiotics and a new thermometer at the pharmacy, having completely missed the pouring rain predicted for early evening (it was wet but not raining as we drove home). Arrived there completely exhausted, had some chicken broth and alphabet pasta which was tasteless but reasonably filling for supper, and eventually dragged our way into bed.

Unfortunately we were both kept up by his coughing and when time came to get up I just went back to bed and slept until ten, and still felt zombified all day. James made himself breakfast, but mostly slept all day or half-heartedly surfed the internet on his little laptop. We just dumped out canned soup for supper and stared with glazed eyes at the television. Thursday night was another cough-fest, but I got up and did my eight hours on the computer, spending half the morning e-mailing back and forth about an invoice that shouldn't have been invoiced. After I wrapped up at four, we went to Kaiser to pick up a couple of prescriptions for James, then came home and ordered supper from China Palace. I think I've had it with wings. Too salty, too saucy. Next time I'll buy and roast my own.

Made the mistake of putting on Thirteen Days at 9:30. Terrific movie, especially liked Kevin Costner as Kenny O'Donnell, but I didn't realize it was so doggone long. I wanted to be in bed by eleven.

While James did sleep some last night, he did wake up, and wake me up, with his coughing. I got enough sleep to have enough energy to take myself off to Costco for more American cheese and Splenda packets for James and the Doctor Strange blu-ray for me. Spent about a half hour at Barnes & Noble seeing if any new series books were out, looking at new SF books for James, and buying the new "Bella Grace" and "Good Food" (I got the new "Milk Street" for James at Costco as well), then got lunch-to-go at Tin Drum, hoping the spices in the curry would help James' congestion a little. His temperature is all gone, but he's still feeling fatigued and stuffy, and is coughing in spasms at least once a half hour.

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» Sunday, February 26, 2017
Anachrocon and the Creeping Crud

James was feeling very tired last night and during the night had coughed a bit. He told me he was considering not coming today, just letting me go alone. But I knew he had been looking forward to today, with the "What If..." panel and "Race to the Moon." So I let him sleep later and did everything I could: packed lunch and snacks into the backpacks, got the phones, loaded the power chair onto the lift (only took me two tries to get it on the ramp!), so all he had to do was bundle up, drive, have breakfast, and sit in panels.

So that's what we did, meeting Clay and Maggi for the breakfast bar and fueling up for the morning. I asked for the check almost immediately when we ordered so we could leave in time for the "Media Revolution and Evolution" panel at ten. We were still a bit late because I refused to bolt my food, but it was as great fun as I had hoped. The description of this one was "Rod Serling, Norman Lear, TW3, Telstar, 1963, the 1960s change us and changed the media." It was a wonderful participatory panel with people calling out the names of local children's television hosts, or if they remembered JFK's assassination, or Robert Kennedy, Martin Luther King, and the Republican/Democratic conventions in 1968 ("The whole world is watching"). One gentleman said he knew what all of these things were except...what was TW3? I knew even because it was on after my bedtime, because my parents watched the show, and also another series mentioned, East Side, West Side with George C. Scott and Cicely Tyson. And Mel mentioned something from the 1950s that was still stupid today: the wiping of most of the innovative anthology series like Philco Playhouse, Playhouse 90, and all the other live drama that was at least kinescoped. We also talked about Desilu being a pioneer of the 3-camera system still used for sitcoms today.

Next year we need to do this panel again and have it for two hours. :-)

Here we had a free hour, so we bought next year's memberships, did another walk around the Dealer's Room, and finally stood talking to Caran and John who were running the Atlanta Radio Theatre table, later joined by Oreta who had bought herself a nifty leather belt with pouches on each side. She had wanted to buy the pouches separately, but they didn't sell them that way.

Next it was time for "What If..." If Lincoln had not been shot. Or Kennedy. Or if the South won. If the Nazis won. If Hitler didn't survive World War I. Many books are built on these alternate histories (Harry Turtledove has made his career on it). On television we have Man in the High Castle or older series like Amerika. If Hitler didn't show up, might there have been someone worse?

There is a full solar eclipse happening this August and the path of totality crosses the United States diagonally. Our next panel was about how and where to watch the eclipse. It will be about 97 percent here, and, thankfully, it's not during rush hour. I hope they announce it on the news or every dipwit driver in Atlanta will be going berserk. Interestingly, all we would have to do to see full coverage is drive up to Dillard. They passed maps around and one of the panelists even handed out sun-safe eclipse paper glasses. The lenses are opaque inside. I've never seen anything like this that will blot out a nasty fluorescent light, but these do. Must save them. Remember the last eclipse: the neatest thing to do is view it under a tree. The light that comes through the trees is all crescent-shaped.

James was not only coughing now, but sneezing as well, so we were glad we were on the final panel, the much awaited "Race to the Moon." The panel had been planning to do a little history, based on the slides they had with them, but it was pretty apparent that everyone in the room had either witnesses or was well-read on the moon landing because we went off on tangents (that were at least not talking about Land of the Lost) about the corrosive fuel the Soviets used, and other behind-the-scenes chat.

And then it was time to head for home. I'd bagged chicken and wild rice soup from Publix a few days earlier and we had that, nice and hot on James' throat for supper.

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» Saturday, February 25, 2017
In Which We Have Interesting Times Followed by Anachrocon

This was the original scenario for today: get up at seven, dress and grab our things, and zip out to the Butlers for Hair Day. Sheri was coming at eight because she had to leave early—her son is getting married next month and everything is at sixes and sevenses. Then we would drive out to the Marriott and join Maggi and Clay for breakfast at the hotel.

I spent a restless night. Since it got warm and things have started blooming, my joints have ached from my allergies. Between my knees and my hips, I kept waking up. Almost the last straw was having to pee at 5:30 after the dang weather radio went off talking about thunderstorms in Pickins County. Arrgh! All I want is a good night's sleep!

I went back to bed, but felt James stirring around. He kept patting at me like he does to see if I'm still in bed.

Suddenly he sat bolt upright at the side of the bed and started shouting about not being hungry and not being sleepy and not being...well, whatever he wasn't, he wasn't making any sense. He had a death grip on the hose of his CPAP machine and just kept sounding off about the same thing with occasional spasms of apologies, but it was all understandable verbiage that was at the same time incoherent.

Well, I was scared out of my wits. I remember Alice when Ken had his stroke, saying that she had spoken to him at the movies, and when he replied it didn't make any sense. And here was James on blood thinners, the very thing that had given Daniel Taylor a stroke! I leapt out of bed and started giving him the stroke test—you know, see if the pupils are equal and if he could make his fingers touch and seeing if his voice was slurred or his mouth was twisted, all that. He just kept repeating that he didn't feel hungry and didn't feel sleepy and... He was almost acting like he was drunk.

Could his blood sugar be low? You have to understand that James has pretty much always kept his diabetes reined in. I have heard of other diabetics not managing their insulin and acting weird after taking too much of it, but the worst James has ever been was a little woozy; he's gotten up and said "I need to have some juice" and sometimes I need to get it for him or sometimes he can manage it alone. But he's never been incoherent. He finally shambled into the bathroom, but he couldn't figure out how to work his own test kit—he kept looking at the items and couldn't name them, and when I asked him what the dog's name was he couldn't remember (although when Tucker barked a few minutes later he automatically said "Shut up, Tucker!"). I tried to get a blood sample but couldn't work the lancet properly and instead skinned out to the kitchen and ripped open one of the juice boxes for Anachrocon, dumped it into a glass, and had him drink it.

A few minutes later he wandered out to the kitchen while I was grabbing for the telephone to call 911, and sat down at the dining room table. The nice dispatcher kept asking me questions and as she did James became a little more coherent. At this point he managed to take his blood sugar, remembering again how to do it, and he was at 57—this after a glass of pretty much pure sugar. By the time the paramedics showed up (in a firetruck, not in a rescue squad!), he was talking coherently again and the dispatcher said to let him go ahead and eat something else. He had a 90-calorie brownie and a cranberry bar and then tested himself again and was only up to 74. Both the paramedics and the 911 dispatcher said it sounded like a clear case of severe low blood sugar and James signed a release and everyone left and then I burst into tears.

(We figure what happened is that James had a no-carb breakfast on Friday, very little carbs at lunch—he had brown rice instead of white rice at Tin Drum, which metabolizes slowly and evenly—and no carbs at all for supper. His score was 145 when we went to bed and he took a full dosage of insulin at bedtime, as the doctor instructed, except it was probably too much for that lower score.)

We ended up eating breakfast at home—Sheri wasn't going to be at the Butlers' until 8:30 anyway—and by the time we got there I felt like I'd already been through the wars. Juanita said I'd done exactly the right thing, but I kept thinking I should have known what it was earlier—I was just so afraid of the stroke because I know minutes count when that happens. And I was horrified to think of what if that had  happened one of the mornings after I'd already left for work!

Anyway, I'd let Maggi and Clay know what happened and we'd see them later. I'm not sure what James did, but I just sagged down in a seat in the Doctor Who Season 9 panel room, which was occupied by just two people, me and Patrick Taylor, who was the head of the Who track. Eventually Sue Phillips wandered in—it was good to see her; hadn't seen her in a dog's age—and so did Clay with coffee and yogurt, and instead of having a formal panel we just yakked about what we liked and didn't like about the latest season, and so very much about Peter Capaldi. James came wheeling in near the end and it was all very nice, especially after one hell of an early morning.

James went off to a panel about nuclear myths and Sue and I went off to "Supernatural TV Today." I asked if she had watched this season's Sleepy Hollow and she said she'd watched the first but didn't know if it was worth continuing. I have them all on the DVR but don't know if I want to watch. It was on last night when we came home; they were back in the vault at Sleepy Hollow and Jenny was reminiscing about Abby. Never was an "Ichabbie" shipper, but still don't know if I like the new format, which is rather X-Files-y. Anyway, it was a good panel, and it was great fun to hear Leanne Hieber going off on the season finale of Penny Dreadful because she was so upset about what they did to a main character. I don't watch the series, so I don't know what happened, but it sure sounded like they sacrificed a character in favor of a dramatic finale.

Next I trotted off to a panel about episodes of classic Doctor Who that you would recommend to a fan of the follow-on series. Normally this has been a great panel in the past and both Patrick Taylor and Jevocas Green (who has played the Doctor in a web series called The Forgotten Doctor and who's very enjoyable on panels) were on it, but the only two people in the audience were me and Mel Boros. So we basically chatted about our favorites of the older Doctors instead and being in classic Who fandom. It was fun, but I guess I should have gone to the Supreme Court panel instead.

At one o'clock I went to a panel called "Truth is Stranger Than Fiction," in which authors talked about historic events which inspired their fiction. The interesting draw here was the presence of Dacre Stoker, who is Dracula author Bram Stoker's great-grandnephew, who talked about events in his great granduncle's life being used as inspiration for incidents in his works. (I ate my lunch here, mortadella in a nice big ciabatta roll. The roll was a bit dry. I think I'll stick to Publix' torpedo rolls.)

Now next I intended to go to "The President Has Been Shot" and then "1860s Bestsellers," which was supposed to include discussion about Louisa May Alcott. I didn't realize the Presidents' (Lincoln and Kennedy) panel was two hours. And once Jeremiah Mitchell started talking, I was hooked. He's got a great narrative style and a good voice. Maggi was sitting next to me and I think we were both mesmerized through the whole thing. The first half of the panel was about Lincoln, starting with the fact that Booth at first only wanted to kidnap him and exchange him for prisoners. JFK took up the second hour and he also discussed some of the normal police procedures that were not followed after the investigation, and, despite the Warren report, there is still question about other shooters.

This panel was also neat because classic author Christopher Stasheff is here with his daughter, and he talked about his own personal memories of the Kennedy assassination; while pretty much everyone else were only kids at the time, Stasheff was an adult and at his job as a teacher when the word came through.

At five it was back to Patrick Taylor and Jevocas Green (and a few others) for a panel about Doctor Who's favorite, not the Daleks, the Master! (Well, that's how I feel. I hate those wretched little pepperpots.) Patrick had a full Roger Delgado-Master outfit and he had even made his own tissue compression eliminator from an Airborne container, "grabs" from a toy, a ping-pong ball for the center piece, and sounds from the do-it-yourself Sonic Screwdriver kit. It was keen. We mostly talked about Delgado or the newest incarnation, the scheming Missy.

Finally it was dinner time. Since we hadn't had the breakfast buffet, we could be extravagant at dinner, but instead had the dinner buffet (which is cheaper than the breakfast one because they have a chef to make omelets in the morning). This was roast chicken and pot roast for meats, mixed vegetables, and mashed potatoes and rolls with butter for carbs, plus a big decadent chocolate layer cake for dessert. We spent a pleasant hour or more just eating and shooting the breeze. Clay is debating buying another long overcoat that can be turned into a Peter Capaldi outfit.

Our last panel was called "Shhh! Women Shouldn't Talk of Such Things, But I Will," which was based on the recent book Unmentionable, which talks about all the crap Victorian women went through, from smearing poisonous lead on their faces to look ethereal like the romantic consumptive heroines in novels, to "women troubles" that could end them up in mental hospitals, to horrible surgeries to keep them from "self abuse" (the primary culprit here being William Kellogg, who later had some corn flakes you might know). They talked about women wearing crotchless panties (well, pantalettes, not the things you see in Victoria's Secret) not for sexual reasons, but because with all the damn clothes you had on, you had to be crotchless to eliminate anything, since you basically just squatted over a hole.

It was very close in there and James bowed out before the panel was over. We left after that since Tucker was probably crossing his legs, and James was sounding a bit froggy. Pretty much we did the same things as last night: went home, walked the dog, checked Facebook, and went to bed!

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» Friday, February 24, 2017
In Which We Spend the First Day at Anachrocon

It was a busy, busy day, which we began by sleeping until nine (I set the alarm for nine, figuring James would be up earlier as always—good thing I set one at all, because for once he slept in; he even slept through his phone ringing). I was hardly through breakfast when I ran to Kroger to finish the shopping for the weekend. It took me forever to find the three tiny rows of sesame oil, lost among Asian sauces, wines, marinades, vinegars, etc. Milk, bananas, and various other small things filled out the order. At home, James made some lunches for me for next week.

Then I had to rush putting it all up because we had to leave for James' nurse appointment at noon. We got our backpacks loaded with juices and low-cal snacks and the chair loaded, and it barely took us ten minutes at Kaiser, but by the time we got out, Panera, which had been virtually empty at 11:45, was so crowded we couldn't even park. So we went to Tin Drum for lunch, then made tracks to the Marriott Century Center and Anachrocon. This year's theme was "the '60s" and that meant all the 60s (1860s, 1760s, and so forth), but mostly the 1960s.

Surprisingly, the line for pre-reg at Anachrocon was deserted, so we got in very quickly, and neither of us having a panel at that moment, just wandered around the dealer's room. This is chiefly "steampunky," but we were quite taken by the gentleman selling unique cuff links and tie bars, and James drooled over one dealer with a 3-D printer. The hat dealer had no deerstalkers, so I lost interest.

We both went to the 60s SciFi Shows panel, which was okay but got wildly off-topic, and why in the frak were they talking about Land of the Lost when it was a 1970s series? This was due to one particular panelist, and this panelist also disrupted other panels I went to (at least once again talking about Land of the Lost). I was quite annoyed with the way they kept dissing shows like Space: 1999 and Thunderbirds. You're supposed to discuss them, not put them down.

James went off to a panel about 60s food fads, and I went to "Creepy, Kooky, Spooky: 60s Television," which turned out to be an extension of a former Addams Family/Munsters panel with Twilight Zone (more properly 50s), Outer Limits and Thriller thrown in. No one mentioned anything else and the conversation was pretty much Addams/Munster. Right in the middle of the panel I took off my glasses—and the frame snapped right over the left side of the bridge. I pocketed the left lens and spent the rest of the day either walking without them or using them with my left eye closed, because having both eyes opened was rather like being drunk.

James emerged from the panel with half a Fluffernutter for me ("Marshmallow Fluff and lots of peanut butter!") and went on to a leatherworking panel while I sat in on "Victorian Mourning." It was an all-woman panel and it got a bit silly as we went from the lady hiding her great grief behind a nearly opaque mourning veil (which is what it was for)—one woman had an authentic one and it was definitely not the gauzy things you see elsewhere; you couldn't see her face when she put it on—to hiding her great glee in having gotten away with poisoning her husband! ☺

Had nothing to do at six, so wandered about and stopped to talk to Caran and John at the ARTC booth, said hi to Anthony Taylor, walked around the dealer's room again, and finally caught up with James. I went with him to the Early Cold War Technology panel, but was pretty much reading during the entire thing. (I had an ARC of the newest Librarians novel. Greg Cox did a crack job on it; he had all the voices just right: even Jenkins sounded correct.

I'd been exchanging text with Clay most of the day, and we met up with he and Maggi for supper. The hotel restaurant is priced for executives on expense accounts, which is why James and I tried to stuff ourselves at Tin Drum. He ordered some vegetable soup which came with two breadsticks, and I had a big green salad. His vegetable soup was pretty much not more than a mugful, so I let him have about a fourth of my salad, which I traded for part of a soft breadstick. Clay had some type of bourbon and then when he saw the check said he sure wasn't going to order liquor there again! We traded dog stories and Maggi filled us in on adventures in making homemade ravioli.

And then we had to head home; Tucker practically teleported down the stairs to go outside. I had some milk and headed to bed—I was pooped!

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» Sunday, February 19, 2017
IKEA and Vegetables

James went downstairs to his "man cave" last night and didn't emerge until after one, so we both slept in this morning, which is very rare for him these days. He's usually up by eight and has the dog walked and sometimes even breakfast eaten before I emerge. Tucker was as slugabed as both of us, so he didn't go out until after breakfast was eaten.

We had decided if nothing else came up today we would go to Ikea, so we set out about 11:30 for Northside Drive by way of CVS (we had a coupon, so I bought more BreatheRights and a newspaper) and Costco (gasoline). Noticed the huge crowd at the Cobb Galleria (otherwise known as the world's most boring mall) which is also a conference venue. They were having a dinosaur discovery event today and lines of children and parents were pouring inside. Funny, I have always been crazy about archaeology and anthropology and prehistoric life, but have never been a big dinosaur fan. I went to see Jurassic Park only because of Sam Neill.

Ikea was pretty crowded, too; when we got there we had to park in the lower garage. It was so close to breakfast that I wasn't really hungry, but we had lunch there anyway: James had the chicken meatballs with mashed potatoes and steamed veggies, and I had a light plate which consisted of three strips of grilled chicken breast, some baby greens, four baby carrots, a stick of mozzarella cheese, and three strawberries. I dipped the chicken breast in James' gravy and it was edible; I gave him the cheese because mozzarella just tastes like mucus to me. Needed some salad dressing for my carrots and greens, so tried some "Newman's Own" light Italian. Ugh! I just used a little bit and it was so vinegary that it made my nose clog up. Yuck.

My walk through Ikea (James just rolled...LOL) was about two miles; it's a good place for a workout. Found some little things: a simple tea strainer,  two small bowls for James to use for cereal, I got one of those artists' model wooden figures, and we wandered around the pretend rooms and I recommended the Billy bookcases to a lady who was considering them (I'm a Billy pusher ☺). I really need to pick up a couple of things when I have a little more money put by; I would like to put a Gnedby (the media bookcase) in the hall bath to hold books and toiletries, for example. They also had some nice garage-type shelving. I still miss the old Leksvik stuff, though, like our bed and china cabinet. They really haven't replaced it with anything comparable. Picked up the 2017 catalog as well.

On the way home we stopped at Bed, Bath & Beyond. I had a coupon and picked up a seat cushion for James to use in the truck. He is having a lot of trouble sitting due to the deterioration of his hipbones and driving has become uncomfortable. This is one of those bamboo pillows with the sacroiliac support which I hope helps.

James cooked himself more ground beef to use in impromptu lunches and then made us an Asian salad for supper using the kit from Sam's Club and teriyaki chicken strips. Next thing we knew it was time for Victoria and now it's time for bed!

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» Saturday, February 18, 2017
In Which Tucker is Drowned and Steak is Consumed

James got up at seven to start work at eight and I dozed luxuriously until nine (again having absurd dreams). I should have filled the bird feeders the moment I emerged from the bedroom, because by the time I finished breakfast and we'd been disappointed because this morning's scheduled space launch from Cape Canaveral had been aborted—they were launching a new SpaceX mission from one of the old Apollo launch pads, and it brought back such lovely memories—it had begun to rain. Tucker was not happy with being taken out into this drippy world.

He wasn't going to be any happier later.

But when they scrubbed the launch I grabbed my keys and went off on my errands. Since I had to go all the way up to Roswell Road to fetch the cleaning, I stopped by Sam's Club on the way to pick up mushrooms, milk, Skinny Pop, onions, eggs, and some Asian salad mix. Then I picked up the cleaning and made a slow half circle back to Smyrna to stop at Publix. Got all the rest we needed, including chicken to go with the Asian salad, but was annoyed at having to once again climb on the dairy case to get my yogurt. Had a lovely chat with the bagger who helped me outside with my stuff. So all the shopping was done by noon.

James was just about to stop and have lunch, so he helped me upstairs with the groceries and then we had lunch. The rain slacked off. And was time...

Tucker was summarily bundled into the car, along with his dog soap, and taken to Petco for a bath. He's begun to smell like a boys' locker room. As I started to scrub him another woman came in to take advantage of the dog wash, with a dog that looked like it was all or part dachshund. Both of them moaned and whined through their bath. I think he is starting to understand what I mean when I waggle my hand and say "shake!"

Brought him home, stripped out his crate, and then waited for James to finish up his work day while I completed Hidden Figures and began With the Might of Angels. When he did sign off, we got dressed and headed for the West Cobb Diner in search of a good turkey dinner, but it was packed, so we ate at Longhorn instead. After oatmeal, yogurt, and two slices left from a personal pizza as food all day, the salad, steak, and potato was extra delicious!

Our final stop of the night was at the Hallmark store on Dallas Highway. I had a 40 percent off coupon on one item. I probably should have spent it on a Christmas gift for someone, but instead bought the new stuffed Lassie that's been tempting me. I also did pick up a couple of pretty Christmas gifts, and some stocking stuffers on discount.

And then it was home to perambulate the pooch and watch some Rosemary & Thyme.

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» Friday, February 17, 2017
The Simple Woman's Daybook


Outside my window...
...sunny and clear. It started out at 35°F this morning and now is 55 and will be around 70 today. 70s all next week, too. Pollen abounds and my sinuses already hurt.

I am thinking...
...I'm not ready for spring; we've hardly had winter yet! Not ready to be sneezy and sweaty and the Atlanta Pollen Festival scattering drifts of yellow pollen dust everywhere.

I am thankful...
...that I've finally getting to post on the following: for Thanksgiving we had a "Thanks Jar." I forgot to post about the results after Thanksgiving, then Christmas came, and the party, then my work picked know, life happened. Instead I just posted about it in my holiday blog in the chronological order to which it belonged. So here is the result of being thankful after a very bad year:

What We're Thankful For

In the kitchen...
...nothing going on but dishes in the dishwasher needing put away. We will probably eat at Ken's Grill tonight as that is cheap and filling. Their pork chops are good, but I'm about pork chopped out. :-)

I am wearing... "Mutts" pajama pants and a Soft Kitty t-shirt with a red plaid flannel shirt on top. I turned the heat off this morning so the 70s wouldn't get it hot in here this afternoon. It's about 65 right now. Plus white socks and beige scuffs. My toes are freezing, but I can't wear slippers because it will raise static electricity on the carpet and I don't want to kill the computer.

I am creating...
...a gift. I just have all the parts for it now, but I'm not satisfied with one of them. The base needs to be worked with a little, then I will have James prime it for me in his spray booth.

I am going...
...I finally believe, to get the shower stall clean without killing my back. I bought a rather expensive gadget called a Hurricane Spin Scrubber which has a motorized rotating brush. Previously I used to use a Mr. Clean scrubbing stick, but the "clean" never satisfied me. My alternative is to go in there with a sponge and scrub it by hand; this is a problem because I am so short. I can kneel in front of the shower stall and pretty much have to lie down to be able to scrub the whole floor of the stall and I still can't reach the back wall! I used the Spin just to give the stall a lick and a promise last night and even James commented on how nice it looked! But the "lick" didn't get the corners.

I am wondering...
...(still) how the dog's squeaky bone got into the wastebasket! I didn't realize it until the trash bag squeaked when I dumped it in the bin on Sunday night. Good thing I keep spares!

I am reading...
...Hidden Figures, which is wonderful. I am so impressed how these women persevered despite so many obstacles: because they were women, they had to be twice as good as men, because they were black, they had to be twice as good as whites. A super, super look behind the scenes in aviation and space travel. BTW, the funniest review of this book that I read went thus: "Boring. I wanted more about the women and less about the science." They talked about the women, their busy lives, the way some of the families were uprooted, their fight against bigotry...what did the reviewer want? Their bra size and what they listened to on the radio?

This, people, is why we can't have nice things.

I am hoping... get some crafting in this weekend, even if it's just a little cross-stitch kit. Still, I'm quite happily reading through my magazines, too. I'm trying a media mystery magazine, "Crime," and this year's "Writer's Digest" annual.

I am looking forward to...
...Anachrocon! It's next weekend. Already have lots of panels in my schedule, including one about the space race and another about anthropology and yet another about science fiction television in the 1960s (not Star Trek).

I am learning...
...has already been listed under "I am reading..." When I watched all those space launches in the 60s and 70s with those rows upon rows of men in Mission Control, who knew women—least of all African-American women—were making this work behind the scenes. Need to read Rise of the Rocket Girls, too.

Around the house...
...I am teleworking and listening to "The Tech Guy," which makes Snowy quite happy. Tucker is standing by the door to the deck, but he'll chase off the birds at the feeder, and it's the Great Backyard Bird Count this weekend. I want to be able to join the count, not have the dog chase all the birds away.

I do have an amusing incident for the bird count. When I took Tucker out this morning, our resident hawk nearly dive bombed me. He was fleeing from four angry crows nearly as big as he/she was. Once he went back to his nest, the crows left off and flew back west, cawing angrily.

I am pondering... next read. I want to get to Maisie Dobbs, but I also have a couple of NetGalley books to read, and when I finish Hidden Figures I want to read something else for Black History Month. I have to get out the "Dear America" With the Might of Angels.

A favorite quote for today...
"Happiness is morning and evening,
Daytime and nighttime, too,
For happiness is anyone and anything at all
That's loved by you."
                 "Happiness," from You're a Good Man, Charlie Brown

One of my favorite things...
...we ate last night: homemade turkey soup. This was the last of the turkey we made for Christmas Eve dinner when Mom and Candy came up.

A few plans for the rest of the week:
James has to work tomorrow, so I get to go to the cleaner and pick up our things. And Tucker needs a bath. We might go to Ikea on Sunday, "with the help of God and a few policemen," as Mom always said.

A peek into my day...
This morning's sunrise:

If you'd like to participate, check out The Simple Woman's Daybook.



» Sunday, February 12, 2017
Let's Chill Because It's Warm

It was just after eight. James couldn't sleep, but I turned over for another snooze, thinking it was too warm to go back to sleep. And then my Fitbit buzzed me because it was 9:50. I always sleep better in the mornings; an "owl" for sure and not a "lark."

After breakfast we ended up going back to Publix because James needed cheese and eggs to finish his burritos and sandwiches. Now he should have enough to see him through the weekend after Anachrocon. We took our finds home and decided, because it was so warm and sticky, to go get a frozen hot chocolate. It was cloudy all day and very sultry; we drove all the way to Acworth with the windows down.

Books-a-Million was having an excellent book sale, but nothing I really had to have. Bought a book about bad food ingredients and also bought James a "Wild Cards" book. On the way home he stopped to let me pop in the Dallas Highway Barnes & Noble to check out their clearance. Found a cute figure of "Sadness" from Inside Out which I got for about 80 cents. I can take her to work.

It was spattering when we got home and remained sort of rainy all night. We had chicken and wild rice soup for supper and before I knew it, it was past America's Funniest Home Videos and time for Victoria.

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» Saturday, February 11, 2017
Bargains and Books

No alarms are so nice. We woke naturally about eight; with James going through his morning routine—weight, blood pressure, shot, pills, the whole nine yards—while I snuggled a little bit more. By the time I was dressed and up, he had taken Tucker for his walk and was cooking eggs for breakfast. Enjoyed my oatmeal and yogurt, then after James helped me get the heavier of yesterday's groceries out of the car and I helped him mount the power chair on the truck, he went off to his club meeting and I grabbed my pouch and my phone so I could head out to Hiram.

Michael's had a 2-day coupon, yesterday and today, 30 percent off all regularly priced items. This is a good coupon for buying low-priced craft supply items: charms, beads, chains, etc., but I wanted to go to a larger Michael's than the one on Cobb Parkway. Hence the trip to Hiram. Of course I had to go check out the pets for adoption at the PetsMart next door. There were two pretty adolescent cats, a black and a grey tabby, and the black kitty, with stunning yellow eyes, kept hooking a paw outside the cage and rubbing against the bars. Aw.

Picked up a variety of things including something to embellish a Christmas project and two things to complete the gift I started yesterday at Barnes & Noble. I also walked up to Five Below, and, even though winter is pretty much over, bought gloves for James (he's always losing one glove) and replaced one pair of mine that were unraveling. Picked up some Yardley Oatmeal soap at Dollar Tree in case we need it again, but they had no Pears soap. I pretty much stock up on the latter every time I'm in Dollar Tree. Would you believe it sells for three for $15 at the Vermont Country Store? I use it for my face and it has really helped although apparently nothing keeps me from having a zit once in a while. Silly me thinking that would be all over with once I quit puberty!

Once home I put things in their places as well as some of the groceries I had brought in. My Vine orders had come in: the new Maisie Dobbs book for me and a Brita water pitcher for James; hoping he will drink more water at work if it tastes better. I just grabbed some bread for lunch and noted in dismay checking out the DVR that I was seven episodes behind in Elementary. (I still love the show; it's just that when I get home anymore I just want to take my glasses off and be done with it!) So I watched two from back in November and started in surprise when a character in the opening scene of the "Sausage" episode began to speak. That voice! Yes, it was Jonathan Freeman, good ol' Rollie Pruitt himself. (The opening of this episode was also notable for all the classic Holmes references: Freeman plays a character named Holder who brings Sherlock a beryl coronet, Sherlock leaves a note to Joan to check on six Napoleons, and later a Musgrave is mentioned.)

James got home from his meeting and almost promptly fell asleep in the recliner, with Tucker sacked out in front of him. Some time later I warmed up the Italian wedding soup, which had not been very soupy when I bought it and now was basically thick glop that needed thinning out with no sodium chicken broth (which was what I planned to do with it in the first place). Watched the news and then put on Father Brown, Rosemary & Thyme, "the crazy lady" as Mom always called Hyacinth Bucket, and As Time Goes By.

I'm excited to see the book at left coming out in June! A few years ago someone on Facebook was advertising a new Lassie book about the television series, but it never came out. I'm thinking it's because Dreamworks refused to let the author publish it. They made the 26-episode cartoon when they bought the Lassie property and then have let it languish ever since. The least they could do would be to give us uncut season sets!

Anyway, something to make summer coming worthwhile! I was thinking today that here's another winter gone by without my ever having gone into the back yard as I've wanted to and doing any work. I certainly don't want to be outside working when it's warm out!

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