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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» Thursday, August 28, 2014
I Made It Through The Rain...Sorta
I finished every single new purchase order I had in my queue by 3 p.m.—and that was even with a staff meeting shoved into the early afternoon. But I was so keyed up this morning after not sleeping well that I was bouncing off almost as many walls as Tucker. Walked him, worked five solid hours, then went in to work for a staff meeting and also to print out things since my @!$#%!#!$! scanner was scanning two pages as one. Glad to go to the staff meeting because I was screaming at my work computer, which took almost ten minutes to boot up, and the good scanner wasn't working...again.

Sadly, it's "sorta" because I couldn't get the two modifications finished, too, but at least one of the people had advised me that they wouldn't have the mod back until late tomorrow. I don't understand why they have to go through such a fol-de-rol about prices that were decided upon when the purchase order was issued originally, but—there you go.

James had today off, went to Costco and to Sam's, and bought all our lunch supplies, and spent the mid-afternoon making sandwiches for lunch for us for the weekend with roast beef and chicken for me, and the same plus ham for him. I brought out all the snacks: trail mix, nuts, crackers, Cheez-Its, Goldfish, etc. They're on the dining room table for us to put together a lunch tomorrow. But I forgot to tell him to look for juice boxes, and the ones in the grocery store are abysmal, so I guess we are stuck with water.

We set off for downtown with trepidation about five, because traffic was backed up all the way to the Brookwood Connector where I-75 and I-85 run together to go through downtown Atlanta. The GPS on my phone offered us a quicker route, which we took, and it was absolutely wonderful for a while: we went down Atlanta Road to Marietta Parkway, and then to Donald Lee Hollowell Parkway, and then in and out of the small roads on the outskirts of Georgia Tech.

Seven-tenths of a mile from our destination we were stopped dead by blinking traffic lights and we spent the next hour trying to get around the mess. Seven-tenths of a mile. Around almost every corner the traffic lights weren't working. What a pain. And then when we got to the Courtland Street Garage they'd jacked up the parking "event" price to $30. What a bunch of opportunists! Let's screw all those science fiction fans and football fans and other people in town this weekend.

We did find a handicapped parking space right near the entrance, and made our way slowwwwwly to the Sheraton. We registered with disability services this year because James is renting a scooter for the weekend. They were super-nice: someone even goes to get your badge for you, and brings you a bag with a convention book and pocket program. James did pretty well tonight, if we had to go glacially slow. We had supper in Peachtree Center and then made our way slowly to the Westin Hotel, where Baen Books was having a book preview event. John Ringo was speaking when we came in and James enjoyed what he had to say. I just sat and read quietly after we'd talked to Teri Sears, who just came back from two weeks in England, Wales, and Ireland! She said it was 50°F when she left there. Oh, heaven!

Made it back to the car over the skybridge commenting about the motor homes parked in the lots below, and home in one piece, to walk the terrier and coo to the budgie and have something cold to drink.

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» Sunday, August 24, 2014
Costco and Chicken

The first thing I do on Sunday mornings are Sunday chores: putting all the towels in the laundry basket for a Tuesday wash, getting my clothes ready for work for the week, and sorting my pills into their weekly doses.

Oh, snellfrocky! Dirty socks! It wasn't toilet paper that was the necessity yesterday, it was omeprazole. I was completely out. So after I'd walked the dog and eaten breakfast, I headed back to Costco. My parking space wasn't as good as yesterday, but I was just going in and out, and that's what I did. The omeprazole is right on the aisle near the self-checkout, so it was pretty painless.

From there I went to Publix. James' favorite diced ham was on twofer and I wanted to pick up some French bread for supper.I found three fall magazines on the stand as well, and the "TV Guide" with Peter Capaldi on the cover. From there I went to Kroger, "fed the car," picked up the prescriptions I phoned in on Friday, and picked up a few other things, like yogurt and puddings. Found the fall edition of "Craftideas" with a nifty little four-seasons cross-stitch pattern, too.

When I got home there on the doorstep was my package from Amazon. I bought a Fitbit. Of course it arrived after I'd done crossing from one side of Kroger to the other, and one side of Publix to the other, as well as the short trot through Costco. I had no idea the actual gadget was that small; it's about the same size as the large joint in my pinky finger. All the programming has to be done on computer.

I am trying some "gummie" vitamins as well. They were buy-one-get-one at Kroger, and I am always forgetting to take my other ones because I choke on them when I take them. I hope these will work better.

I spent the rest of the day tidying up the kitchen, putting away some groceries, and finally watching "Deep Breath" again without those damn distracting commercials. The pacing is much better that way, and I hadn't caught the joke about the Doctor having a band the first time. LOL. I can't wait until the "regular" episodes start. Not sure what to make of "Missy," though—she's like Mary Poppins dripping with bile.

I followed up with a film I hadn't watched for a while, 84 Charing Cross Road. I love this movie and always cry at the end. I have the British edition because the American one was full-screen. I particularly love the scene at the beginning where Helene walks into the neighborhood grocery. The scene is from 1950 but these places were still around in the 1960s: the hand-lettered price signs, the checked linoleum floor with the odd replaced square whose color didn't match the rest, the wooden shelves up to the ceiling crammed with canned goods and boxes, the stocky cash register that rang when the cash drawer opened, the glass case with the gum and the penny candy. Oh, the labels on the cereal boxes and the soap canisters changed in the ten-plus years, but I can still smell the store: a bit of cheese and chicken and ham and fresh meat scent from the back, fresh-ground coffee, bits and bobs of sugar, gum, and floor wax and Spic'n'Span.

For supper I cooked two kinds of chicken, one to have for supper, and one to put away for later in the week. I am hoping to make it through the week without James having to do any cooking. I made one plain, with just parsley, chives, salt and ginger on it, and cacciatore with the other. We had the latter for supper while watching All Creatures Great and Small. I hadn't seen these in years; still smiling about the "battle Royal" between Seigfried and Miss Harbottle.

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» Saturday, August 23, 2014
The Day of the Doctor

James embarked on the next stage of a marathon today.

He'd already been scheduled to work Sunday to have the Friday of DragonCon off. Then they asked him to work Saturday, too, with the promise that he could have Thursday off. So he did it, which means this morning he started the second half of ten straight days of work. The only good thing about it is that he could sleep until 7:30 this morning and can do the same tomorrow.

I woke up just as the garage doors rose, and was so restive there was no use going back to sleep. I took Tucker out for a long walk, then we both had breakfast, and then it was time for errands, so he went back into his crate. I went to Costco and lucked out particularly by getting a parking space almost right outside the door. I bought toilet paper, milk, chicken legs, and a copy of Vicious. One thing I wasn't getting was gasoline; with the 3 cent Kroger discount, it was cheaper at Kroger.

I had a funny on the way home. I was stopped at the light on South Cobb Drive and aimlessly staring off toward the right. When I turned to the left, a woman in a big SUV stopped next to me was waving and gesticulating at me with the window rolled down. I rolled down my window and she shouted "New episode of Doctor Who tonight!" She had seen the magnetic "My other vehicle is a TARDIS" sign on the back of my car!

Once home, with the groceries put away, I gathered up some things I wanted to take to Goodwill and disposed of them, then ducked into Dollar General. They were stocking shelf after shelf with bags of Hallowe'en candy, and they had costumes and things out. I bought Tucker a cheap little shirt that said "Vampire Dog" on it (hey, I've felt his teeth!). Finally I stopped by Vickery Hardware, and then returned home.

I spent the rest of the afternoon alternating doing housework and watching the Doctor Who marathon on BBC America. I got everything vacuumed on the main floor and finally did the stairs and swept the foyer and the downstairs hall and the laundry room, plus cleared out Tucker's crate of the detritus of what he collects: wrapper bits, another toothpick, paper scraps. This morning I decanted James' new fan and five minutes after opening the box found part of the cardboard packing under the table being gnawed. I needed the breaks just to cool off; the Whoathon was just lagniappe.

We had a whopper of a thunderstorm late in the afternoon, but it only lasted about twenty minutes. The lightning bolt and the whipcrack of thunder right over the house got my attention, though! James got out at six and picked up dinner from Dragon 168 on the way home, and we ate it while watching the reprise of "The Time of the Doctor" before the big Peter Capaldi reveal.

I really enjoyed it, if the pacing in the middle was a little off. It was hard to tell if it was really the pacing because of so many damn commercials, but I like what I see so far! I hope Clara keeps the sarcastic spunk, and I hope they keep the not-bouncing-off-walls pace. I see we have another story arc developing as well. Next I want to watch it without those bloody commercials!

Watched Intruders afterwards, and was also intrigued, and nice to see John Simm slowed down to normal speed after playing the Master at fast forward.

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» Thursday, August 21, 2014
The Simple Woman's Daybook

FOR TODAY, AUGUST 21, 2014

Outside my window...
...it's early evening, since I never have time to do this in the morning, and it's been a blazingly hot day, up in the 90s. I took Tucker out at four and don't know how I kept breathing. Thankfully, there was a breeze!

I am thinking...
...how fast the summer has gone by. This has been both a blessing and a curse at work, because end-of-fiscal-year has gone by quickly, but it also feels like I haven't had time to concentrate on anything properly. I've sent so many "I'm sorry this is belated" e-mails that I can write them in my sleep, and I guess I frequently do, because I'm always dreaming about work.

I am thankful...
...that I'm seeing fall magazines on the newstand. Summer always feels like it will never end.

In the kitchen...
...nothing, because it was potlucks night. James needs to finish cleaning the counter and the cutting board. I had the exterminator spray and put powder under the counters, just in case, even though I only saw the two roaches in the bathroom.

I am wearing...
...a black tank top and shorts and white socks, in other words, my usual summer outfit.

I am creating...
...nothing for the rest of the evening. I did three orders today and my left eyelid is twitching so hard it rubs against my eyes. I understand this is probably from a combination of stress and lack of sleep.

I am going...
...crazy. :-) But that's contracting for you. I always wondered why John Houseman's character in The Paper Chase was such a humorless git. Well, of course! He teaches contract law!

I am wondering...
...what to do about the future. "The moving finger writes..." and all that. James' back is shot after the two falls; he's going to need a scooter to go long distances. He's going to have to find an alternate form of exercise (perhaps swim therapy?), and we're going to have to spend the money for a carrier on the car/truck. It seems no matter how much I don't want to spend money, we always have to spend more. Now we're going to have to pay extra for the exterminator to treat the deck because it has carpenter bees.

I am reading...
...Boston and the Dawn of the American Revolution, which I love when it talks about the people and the historical events, but the politics is rather turgid. I'm also trying to finish a book about retirement which is hard slogging, because I'm over one third through it and the author is still trying to convince the reader that it's okay to retire, that you won't be a lesser person if you do. Holy cow, I know that! I want to retire so I can become me again, instead of someone who has to, in the words of "Prufrock," "prepare a face to meet the faces that you meet."

I am hoping...
...for cooler weather for next weekend. Fat chance, but I'm still hoping.

I am looking forward to...
...Saturday! BBC America! 8:15 p.m.! Peter Capaldi! Doctor Who! Enough said!

Around the house...
...it needs vacuuming, but I don't have the time nor the inclination this evening; I have a headache and am even wishing to finish this quickly so I can go nurse it.

I am pondering...
...Tucker. He's such a funny dog! He was good as gold today. I've told him, although I know he doesn't understand all his words, that if he plays by himself and doesn't destroy things, he can stay out while I am working. I had to lock him up while the exterminator was here, but otherwise he slept on one of the dining room chairs from 8:30 to 4, when I took him out, and didn't bother me.

A favorite quote for today...
...you've had your quote for the day. Prufrock rules!

One of my favorite things...
..."Early American Life," which I shall read when I get finished with this.

A few plans for the rest of the week:
Work! Work! Work! And a trip to Bed, Bath & Beyond, because we have four coupons that expire on Monday.

A peek into my day...
Picture me sleeping. I like. :-)


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

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Flourish

» Sunday, August 17, 2014
A Nap Was Needed

Eight hours of sleep was not my destiny today. Sadly, something I ate at dinner didn't agree with me. I simply took my tablet into the bathroom and read "Woman's Day" and dealt. Once James got up and Tucker was walked, we went up to the Kroger at Battle Ridge to pick up the necessities of life (milk and bread and yogurt), and a few other bits and bobs, including some turkey thighs to make for supper. James had really bad luck with the scooters this morning. The first one ran out of juice before he got to the managers' specials meat case in the back, while the second was dying as I returned it to the store. I was still feeling bad, so we headed home. Once my problem was taken care of, we ran to Publix for a couple of things, and a double-paper, which Kroger didn't have, and then James went back to the Smyrna Kroger for gasoline.

We finally came home for breakfast, where I made an unpleasant discovery. On Thursday or Friday I killed a little roach in the hall bathroom. Today I found another one in there. One is an accident, two is not. We've had problems because of the heat and wet this year, and the damn things do climb up the drain pipes. Luckily the exterminator is coming on Thursday. I haven't needed to have him come in the house for years, but I will need to empty out under the sink so he can spray there, and I'll have him do the door to the deck, too, and probably the foyer and the kitchen. He uses green pesticides; I hope it works, since the last time we had a problem with them, Scott [our original exterminator] had to get out the big guns with some stuff that came out of a tube that we were forbidden to touch. I hate when these critters get in the house.

We had one more outing: another trip to Kroger to get gasoline for the car. And then we were both so wiped out, James from having about four hours sleep and me from being sick, that we just took an hour's nap, with Snowy singing us to sleep from the living room. It was quite restorative, and we did feel better after that: read the paper, James walked the dog, then let him wander around on the deck so he could patrol for squirrels, and finally cooked the turkey thighs for supper. Excellent! Had them with ramen noodles, and I had enough left over to make three sandwiches for lunch. Watched 20/20's tribute to Robin Williams, and then Tiny House Nation (a wonderful 500-square-foot cabin up in the mountains of Colorado with a view of Pikes Peak, with all sorts of convertible furniture), the Feast of the Assumption episode of Feasts & Seasons of the Church, and finally Flipping Boston, with snow, snow, and more snow.

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» Saturday, August 16, 2014
Foodies Delight

Finally a trip to the Farmer's Market this morning! We've missed it so many times this summer for one reason or the other. We took the Elephant's Child...I mean Tucker (it's all that "'satiable curiosity," you see)...with us, and it was cool enough on the inbound leg to put the windows down. I held him firmly by his harness and he stuck his nose out the window and sniffed at the glorious air and streets and grass and trees, and opened his eyes wide as police cars blaring sirens came roaring around the corner. (On the way home he just put his head out the window in bliss.)

We found a handicapped space on the square, still a long distance for James to limp with his cane. I had Tucker on the short leash we bought and keep in the truck; his nose was everywhere until we got to the line of booths themselves and then his eyes were wide as he sniffed fruits and ginger and bacon and chicken salad and cookies and vegetables and flowers and freshly-made bread, and dozens and dozens of people and several dozen dogs, including two golden labradoodles that rather took him aback, and a tiny female Yorkshire terrier who gave him what for in no uncertain terms in high-pitched barks. We had vegetables and just got a pot pie, pumpkin bread, chicken salad, and some dog biscuits, and talked to the chicken salad guy (whose name I've forgotten again after I deliberately asked him about it a month ago) and the Big Daddy dog biscuit lady.

Then we came home and had breakfast, and James was soon off to his club meeting. Now, yesterday, when he went to the doctors (two appointments, only he didn't get much out of the neurologist because the dingbats who took his MRI never sent the results to the doctor), he came home with a home sleep test C-PAP unit. It has to be back by 3:30 Monday afternoon or we have to pay $$$ rent on it. but I don't want him to lose anymore work; he's already been out so much with the appointments and the falls on the stairs and on the ice. So I dragged out my work folder and did two purchase orders and set another one up and made a bunch of notes, so I don't get behind and won't feel so guilty when I ask to leave early on Monday to return the C-PAP unit. I'm not fifteen minutes from the sleep clinic—it'll take me almost as long to park in their stupid garage—and it's much more sensible for me to return it. I have the leave time, just not the time, if that makes any sense.

After that I had just enough time to eat a little, get changed again, and walk Tucker before Alice and Ken came to pick me up for Ron's birthday dinner (since James was already at Town Center for his meeting). I got to ride in Alice's new Prius, the red one she named "Scotty" since he's the only Red Shirt on Star Trek that ever survived. Her daughter Aubrey is now driving her old Prius, the black one, "Darth Prius."

James was already at Keegan's Irish Pub with the rest of the party (eighteen in all; pity Daniel and Clair couldn't make it) and we had a great two hours. Ron got lots of books or things to buy books with, and a charger for his new iPhone, and the food was delicious: I had an open-faced pot roast sandwich with wonderfully tender meat, and James had meatloaf, properly made with brown gravy. His portion was so large that he took half home with my mashed potatoes (I don't eat potatoes and bread in the same meal, and, given the choice, will take the bread over the potatoes any day) and has a lunch for next week. Ron and Lin said they eat there often and have never had anything poorly cooked or bad tasting. They also ordered some appetizers for the table: "Irish spring rolls" with corned beef and cabbage in them, "Black and Tan" onion rings, and battered mushrooms. For dessert cupcakes were brought out, but we took ours home for tomorrow's dessert because we wanted to split a slice of the chocolate indulgence cake. Oh, boy, was it indulgent, very dark and rich.

After parting, we went to Barnes & Noble with our coupons so James could pick up John Ringo's new book. I grabbed the time-travel steampunk book The Abraham Lincoln Pocket Watch Conspiracy, which sounds bizarre; just the title is worth it. I picked up the new "Mad" magazine for a laugh: Leo Laporte is caricatured in their spoof of Shark Tank. But, damn, there are still no fall magazines out but "Country Sampler" and "Cottage Journal" and the Hallowe'en cross-stitch magazine I bought last week. They usually start coming out in August! I hope "Vermont Life" and the other travel magazines have some good leaf photos this year. They've been positively puny the last couple of years. And I'll have to wait a bit for "Landlove" and "Landscape" since they're imported from Great Britain.

And finally home. We watched Tucker literally bounce off walls, or rather bounce off us for a while, then James went down to his "man cave" for the first time in ages, perhaps since before Willow died. I've been trying to compose a story for "Reminisce." I still haven't sent them the story I wrote about my mother and my uncle Nicky trying to get out of moving from Ohio to Rhode Island in 1924; that was a funny family story for years.

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» Friday, August 15, 2014
Mischief Managed

or "What I did on my Friday off..." at Autumn Hollow

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» Sunday, August 10, 2014
From Supermarket to Surprise

After a nice late-night chat with Emma, we slept in, a delicious sleep-in. It was overcast and very, very humid. After Tucker had his walk, we went to Kroger. I got some chicken soup for lunch and James some tamales from the deli, and we bought milk and other necessities of life. Barilla pasta was on sale ten for ten, so we stocked up, including on tricolor pasta and whole wheat. Even got some "farfalle" which will be good for soup. Unpleasantly discovered that (1) there is no more basic spaghetti sauce without sugar that doesn't have pepper in it (I'd rather have the sugar) and (2) and DelMonte is now putting sorbitol in their mandarin orange cups. Just because it isn't "sugar" doesn't mean it hasn't been sweetened. Same thing with the Kroger brand. Dole is still using juice, thank God!

We came home, had lunch, and then left for Phyllis' surprise party. Now, someone had made a offhand reference to the party yesterday, which I tried to cover up, but thankfully Phyllis was so taken up with the different conversations going on at Hair Day that she missed the reference. So she was really surprised, especially when she discovered her son, his wife, and her two adorable granddaughters had driven in from Iowa. Unfortunately the cake had an accident in transport, so we couldn't see it in its full glory, but it was delicious. We sat around telling favorite stories (including my favorite, which involves Lin and Pat "the baby's lawyer") and telling Colin stories, since he brought his new girlfriend to the gathering. She wasn't scared off by any of this. :-)

Leigh (Phyllis' daughter) and Robbie had bought burgers for all, so we ended up having supper there and just noshing a bit when we got home.

And so back to the fray tomorrow...

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» Saturday, August 09, 2014
You Who!

Well, so much for the Farmer's Market.

We got up on time, and I took Tucker on a short walk so he'd do this thing. While I ran back in the house to get something, James heard on the radio that they were having a running event downtown. This meant no parking would be available. We went to Kroger instead to get supplies for Hair Day. We bought tomatoes and onions for the hamburgers Ron would be making on the grill, two kinds of cole slaw, some kettle chips, and two cucumbers to make a salad with. I also picked up bananas, since they were yellow instead of green the way they usually are in Smyrna, and a couple of peaches for work.

Hair Day itself passed in a blur. Oreta and Alex talked about what vegetables he could plant so late in the season. She had bought a bowlful of the best watermelon we've tasted all season. Juanita and Jessie had to get clipped and run, as they had a baby shower this afternoon. Charles told us about his upcoming vacation to the Upper Penisula of Michigan. He and a friend are going to walk over the Mackinac Bridge, on the one day of the year they allow you to do so. Terica and I were comparing stupidity-at-work notes.

And, dang, I forgot Colin's graduation gift again.

We were about to leave at noon when James realized he'd been so busy talking he'd forgotten to get his hair cut! So he had to have a quick clip so we could leave so he could get on the road to his club meeting. He dropped me off at the little Baptist church and I walked the rest of the way home, then spent the rest of the time there having a glass of milk and deciding whether I wanted to change clothes. I did.

Barnes & Noble has been having this "pop culture" promotion for the last couple of weeks, and today and tomorrow were the last two days, the theme of which was "page and screen." Alan Siler, who runs Timegate, works at the Perimeter store and he had a Doctor Who event this afternoon. They had trivia and the Earth Station One people did a podcast right from the store. I won one of the rounds of trivia and got a DVD set, the first half of the Doctor with Donna Noble (which of course includes the episode with Peter Capaldi, whose premiere as the Doctor is in two weeks!). Some guy came in a very nice War Doctor costume. Proving that my geekiness outweighs my common sense, I extracted my fourth Doctor scarf and slouch hat from their storage spots. Only Doctor Who would make me wear a heavy scarf in the throes of August! Thank God for air conditioning! Louis Robinson also showed up for the festivities.


So I came home with my DVD, the latest issue of Doctor Who magazine with the results of the "all time favorite" episode vote, last week's "Entertainment Weekly" with Peter Capaldi on the cover, and a book for a birthday gift. James was already home. As I was leaving for my trip eastbound, he'd called me to say he had gotten to Hobbytown and discovered the meeting had been rescheduled. (It turns out the Nationals are this weekend, which would explain the change.) So he'd come home and taken a nap.

We didn't do much after that. While he had Tucker outside I watched the Lassie episode "Scarecrow" which showed on FETV yesterday. We also watched yesterday's two episodes of Make Room for Daddy (it's horrible how they are chopping these to bits to add doc-in-the-box commercials). And I discovered with delight that today was the season premiere of a new sequence of Flipping Boston episodes! Yayyyyyy!

Finished both the magazines tonight, too.

* Photo taken by Kirby Bartlett-Sloan.

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» Sunday, August 03, 2014
The Bad, the Ugly, and the Good

Well, this was a weekend that turned out so much better than the week that proceeded it!

Tuesday started out fine, except that my sinuses were hurting. That's usual when it rains as often as it has this summer. However, when I took my lunch break the physical pain turned into an annoying post-nasal drip/runny nose situation. By bedtime I couldn't breathe through my nose at all, despite the hot steamy shower, and had to retreat to bed with a fresh box of Kleenex. My mouth was so dry that I was up every twenty minutes for a sip of water. I was so desperate for relief about three a.m. that I went into the bathroom and pulled out the jar of Vicks Vap-o-rub and stuck my nose over it, hoping that breathing in the fumes would clear my nose. Fat chance. I couldn't even smell it! When your nose is so clogged you can't smell Vicks, that is pathetic! By the time the alarm rang I calculated I had about two hours sleep. So I slept on, sort of, for another three hours, and then went into work. I swore after I worked during most of the flu that the next time I was sick I would stay home and get well, but there's too much damn work to do. I hate working when I'm like this because I have to move so deliberately; things that take me five minutes when I'm well took forever because it was so difficult to think and I had to juggle keyboard and tissues. And it was so hot: 80 degrees in the office that afternoon. It was very hard to breathe.

I had a low-grade fever on Tuesday night, but it was gone by Wednesday morning, or I wouldn't have gone in. It was back by the time I got home, and it must have spiked during the night. I was shivering and so cold after my hot shower and used the comforter Wednesday night, and every time I woke up I felt like I was on fire. By the time morning came, it seemed to have burned itself out, but it was still a struggle getting through the day teleworking; I really needed an extra hand for the tissues! It helped that it was cooler outside and the ceiling fan was going.

Thankfully Friday was my compressed day off. I slept in a little and did a little housework. I had planned to assemble the Gnedby units we bought on Sunday, but there simply wasn't enough air to breathe, and most of the time my right hand had a Kleenex in it. We had supper at Panera and the hot soup tasted like that legendary ambrosia. One walk around Barnes & Noble exhausted me. But I did pick up the autumn "Cottage Journal" to cheer myself up, and the new Lady Emily Hargreaves mystery.

We had a nice surprise on Friday: I got a Facebook message saying our friends Clay and Maggi were going to be in town this weekend on a Home Goods/Ikea expedition. So we made plans to go out with them to dinner, but in the meantime we slept late (and I was finally sleeping now), and then went to Costco looking for spaghetti sauce because I wanted to make more pork and gravy. We came out with a lot more because I decided to use the rest of my performance bonus to buy a new camera. I wanted a longer telephoto lens, so bought a Panasonic Lumix with a 60X optical zoom. The instant rebate on the camera ended on Saturday, so it was fish or cut bait. I've been debating on this for months and finally decided to take the plunge. I also bought a book about World War I.

My favorite part of the trip was going into the cold room where they keep the milk. It was the first place I could breathe properly in the past five days! I could have stayed in there all morning.

Anyway, we got the milk home, and then tried to find a scooter store James thought he saw around downtown Marietta. We couldn't find it and finally consulted Google Maps. Good luck with that! According to Google Maps the place was in the middle of Glover Park. Say what?

So we got home and James did a long delayed cleaning of the stove while I tidied up and vacuumed yet again. I had just finished when Clay and Maggi showed up. Now, we were very interested to see what Tucker's reaction to visitors would be. Willow was the world's best Omega personality, but she always barked at visitors; we called this "the Ritual Barking of the Dog." But Mr. I'll-Tackle-That-German-Shepherd accepted visitors as fine because Daddy let them into the house. Snowy was fine with it and sang for the entire evening and most of the morning, too. I believe he enjoyed having his own flock.

Of course he ran them ragged for the rest of the night, as neither of them suffer from allergies, so he could jump into their laps to his heart's content.

They had been to Home Goods and were planning on going to Ikea tomorrow, so we asked if they wanted crash space. This they accepted, and they treated us to dinner. We went to Giovanni's, where we feasted on various Italian delicacies (I had lobster ravioli; it was still delicious, but they didn't used to glop so much cheese on it). James' pork marsala was made from a big cut of pork; he brought more than half of it home. We went by Bruster's for dessert and treated them to ice cream.

Again slept in this morning, and am waking up finally feeling mostly normal. I hope this is a good omen for the week; I really want to crank out some work! I was up first so I took Tucker on his perambulations. At ten o'clock it was warm, but there was a nice breeze and the dew was still glittering on the grass. All his "good dogs" done, we returned to find people straggling awake one by one.

Clay and Maggi headed off for Ikea about eleven and we headed for our usual Sunday sojourn at Kroger. We were so hungry we just bought our food and skedaddled after James got gasoline, in the process forgetting to get a newspaper. Once the groceries were put up, we decided to go to the Petco at Town Center to see if they had Tucker's favorite dog food, the Pro Plan "shredded chicken." We went via IHOP and ate off the senior menu, and then picked up the dog food and some dog cookies and headed home, stopping only to get a newspaper at the QT. Once we got home, we ditched the truck and took the car to Kroger for gasoline. Finally we were done.

Had the chicken legs we got at Kroger this morning for supper; cooked them all and still have another meal and a couple of legs for lunches as well! Watched Friday's episodes of Make Room for Daddy, and then this week's Tiny House Nation. This couple seemed a lot more sensible and they got the cutest little 220 square foot house; it was on wheels because the young woman was a mobile nurse and worked in different parts of the country. Nobody abandoned their cats. They showed another tiny house in the process where the people actually owned books!

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» Sunday, July 27, 2014
A Benno By Any Other Name

Restless night, strange dreams. Nevertheless, we were up at ten because Tucker was waiting and so was Kroger. Our puppy was quickly satisfied; while James was outside with Tucker I went on the deck to refill the bird feeders and discovered the little ants I'd seen in there earlier in the month had laid little ant eggs in the bird seed. I refilled the feeders, then slung the rest of the seed out of the can into the back yard, and rinsed the can out with alcohol. (At least I hope alcohol kills ants!) I will still need to clean out the can and get all the leftover seed out of the crease at the bottom. Then we were off for the usual Sunday shopping trip. We bought some meats, milk of course, those Damned Bananas, some plums, Brownie Bites for dessert because they were buy one get one, Eskimo Pie ice cream bars for further desserts because they were nearly half price (some nice sales today, altogether).

After we put the groceries away, we decided to make a trip to Ikea. I was looking for a couple of "Benno" units, which are actually CD towers, but which I want to use for paperback books in narrow spaces. We could also have lunch there, and were soon sitting in the restaurant overlooking the tall minaret of Al-Farooq Masjid, with its lovely copper spire. James went traditional with the meatballs, but I had what they called a Thai chicken wrap. Technically I think you were supposed to roll the chicken in the lettuce leaves provided along with the shredded carrot, sliced cucumber, and red pepper slices, topped with the spicy peanut sauce. I pretty much just ate the chicken pieces, dipping the fork just briefly in the peanut sauce to not get too much of it, but enough to give chicken breast some taste, and the carrot and cucumber and the buttered roll I also had added to the order. The red pepper was deliciously sweet, but would have made me desperately sick, so I just had a tiny nibble.

They had no little carts like Kroger that I could see, so James limped painfully through the aisles until we found the storage shelving area so I could find out what aisle and bin of the warehouse the "Benno" units were located. To our surprise, we found out they have renamed the "Benno" units the "Gnedby." Ooooh-kay. The "Expedit" units, like the one we use as a room divider, has been renamed the "Kennix" (and now comes in sea green and powder pink!). Then we took shortcuts through the rest of the building to get to the warehouse. With our two "Gnedby" units in the back of the truck, we came home to cool off for the rest of the afternoon (except when I took Tucker outside) and listen to "The Splendid Table" and "Wait! Wait! Don't Tell Me."

For supper we had an oriental salad and watched Prohibition.

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» Saturday, July 26, 2014
Little Sprout and Big Sprout

"The time has come,"
the Walrus said,
"to speak of many things..."

In this case it was one thing: getting Tucker's claws clipped; they are like little razor blades. And it was about time for a bath for him, but he's so hyper I wasn't sure the tub would contain him. So we made arrangements with our vet for a grooming appointment, and got him there just before nine. There were several other dogs there, most for the same thing, including the most mind-boggling huge black dog, the size of a German Shepherd, who even had Tucker a bit confounded: it was a five-month-old Great Dane. He's still a puppy! Now he's all loose-jointed and big-footed, but this dog will be the size of a Mack truck someday.

Tucker thus deposited, we hied off to Panera for breakfast. James had steak and egg on an everything bagel, and I had oatmeal plus a plain bagel with the roasted vegetable cream cheese. Someone had left behind a paper, which James read while I continued reading the first Enola Holmes novel. (I finished reading it at Barnes & Noble: not a bad young adult series, although I can't say being abandoned by your mother is a good start for a literary character.

Years ago on this side of town we would have had plenty of places to hit: the big Michaels and the Borders at Gwinnett, or Kudzu (or going even further back, Woolworths) and perhaps even the big Borders near Lenox Square Mall. (Back in the late 1980s, when there was interesting stuff at Lenox, we might have even gone there, or to Oxford Books.) But pickings are slim these days and we didn't want to brave the mess at Gwinnett Mall just to visit Fry's and be tempted with stuff we don't need—and even the Aviarium is looking a bit tattered these days.

However, there was a new grocery store open, right behind the vet's office, in fact: something called "Sprouts," basically  Whole Paycheck ...whoops, Whole Foods on a Kroger budget, so we checked it out. Not a bad place. We got some strawberries, tart cakes, one cup of maple-flavored yogurt, a small amount of chocolate-covered cashews, some pepitas (shelled pumpkin seeds), green onion and garlic teriyaki sauce, some Asian soup bowls, and Annie Chun clear rice noodles. (The chocolate and the yogurt were a bad idea; we had all the stuff in an insulated bag, but it was hot today and the chocolate melded together and the yogurt is probably spoiled.) As we checked out, James signed up for coupons, so we got coupons for five free deli sandwiches (a $20 value). We figured we'd pick them up when we came back for Tucker.

Next we stopped at Barnes & Noble at "the Forum on Peachtree," or whatever silly name they've given to this modern imitation of Garden City Shopping Center in Rhode Island (where you could "park at the door of your favorite store"), where I was finally successful in my search for the autumn "Country Sampler." I also bought—and don't faint—a book about mathematics, Here's Looking at Euclid: From Counting Ants to Games of Chance–An Awe-Inspiring Journey Through the World of Numbers. For something about mathematics, it looked interesting enough to give my brain a different twist, and if I like it there's even a sequel! James and I shared a slice of the Hershey's chocolate cheesecake with an ice water chaser. Also bought a little card game called Iota, which has Uno elements.

We'd noticed that there was a Trader Joe's at the other end of the Forum, so we hit that next. A bit largere than the other two. Bought more chicken and apple sausage, a Trader Joe Cheerios clone, some oyster crackers, a mixed package of Italian lunchmeat (I haven't had proscuitto in a dog's age), a Ritter bar, some dark chocolate covered caramels for two desserts, a small bag of onion-flavored "chips," and some of their fruit bars. They let us have two frozen water bottles, so we were able to rescue our Sprouts stuff.

Tucker was finally ready (it was after three!), so we went to Sprouts for our sandwiches and ended up buying a few more things: some chicken salad and some tamales. I particularly love their bulk food area and can't wait to come back when it's cooler to try their 6-grain hot cereal. There is a Sprouts about to open just north of the Forum, so we might even be able to make it a regular monthly run, and when it's cold combine it with a trip to the Buford Highway Farmer's Market.

So we drove our clean and manicured puppy home, finished the rest of our sandwiches, listened to James' new Gaelic Storm album (which is really just a best of with four new songs), and relaxed until about seven, when we ordered some Chinese food. Watched Mythbusters and Tiny House Nation before I got pissed off with the babbling of the television and put music on instead: my Aureole Celtic album. Flutes and violins. Just the ticket.

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» Sunday, July 20, 2014
Day of Rest

Well, for me it sorta was. I kept waking up because my knees were hurting. But James had it worse because he had to go to work, so I wasn't going to complain about it. I slept until 8:30 and then dressed and went to Kroger first thing. I needed bread and yogurt for lunch, so I went to the Battle Ridge store, since their rolls are better. I picked up yogurt and bread and pudding on sale, and light bulbs, since the three-ways are getting scarce (Publix is selling them for nearly six dollars!), and bought three gift cards for future events. But they didn't have cheddar Skinny Pop (James tried the black pepper and said it's pretty much inedible) and I'd forgotten a paper, so I stopped at the Smyrna store just for those before going home. Tucker and I had our respective breakfasts, and I actually read the paper before noon, which is unheard of.

Then I took the chicken out of the refrigerator to finish thawing for dinner, positioned myself under a light, and spent the afternoon cross-stitching and watching the last four episodes of season 1 of Miss Fisher's Murder Mysteries, plus the extras. I suppose if Kerry Greenwood, who is the author of the original novels, likes the series, I should just go with the flow, but the season finale was rather bizarre. In the series, they insert a series arc not in the book: that one of the reasons Phryne Fisher moves back to Australia is to keep tabs on the man who kidnapped and murdered her younger sister when they were children. In the series finale, the mystery is solved, and it's rather improbable. They also did a major change to one of the book plots (Murder in the Dark, but that was okay, because everyone in the book was totally horrible except for Phryne) to include her family, including a cousin with what looked like cerebral palsy. It's still fun to watch, but, really, the books are better.

James came home early because work was slow, and together we finished dinner, which were chicken drumsticks cooked in cream of chicken and herbs soup served with spaetzle. Everything on television was rubbish, so I put From the Earth to the Moon on, since it's the 45th anniversary of the moon landing. We watched "Spider," are just finishing "That's All There Is," and will probably put on "Galileo Was Right" before bed.

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» Saturday, July 19, 2014
Singing in the...Sun

Last night's weather report looked rather depressing: rain all day. And sure enough, when we awoke it was raining. Nevertheless, Tucker went out for his walk, and then we went to the Farmer's Market with our umbrellas bobbing over our heads, joining dozens of others with equally bobbing umbrellas. We bought cucumbers, tomatoes, baking potatoes, and sweet corn, plus chicken salad and two little dog "cupcakes" for Tucker, then sloshed back to the car, stopping at the bakery for some desserts for next week.

A little while later James left for his club meeting, and I worked for a couple of hours on a graphics project: a friend has published a book of short stories on Amazon and was dissatisfied with his cover. I did something with it I thought he might like while eating one of the rolls I bought with butter; later on I had some broth with crackers. I tried playing with Tucker a little, but he didn't seem inclined to fetch and so I set him to getting the cookie out of the puzzle toy. I was playing records later on and about three o'clock I wanted to tidy up the craft room so I could actually work in there, so I put Tucker in his crate so I didn't have to worry about him—this morning we found him chewing a bit of particle board he got from God knows where! I put up the Doctor Who clock I bought at Timegate—the only place on the wall left for it was over the door!—and put the beads and trinkets up.

When James got home we both took Tucker outside, and then went to West Cobb Diner for turkey dinners. Although all the reports said it was going to rain all day, it was bright sun and blue sky by the time James got home. I liked it better when it was raining; it was cooler! I had five JoAnn coupons, so we went there and I picked up some cross stitch fabric, a set of gold needles, and some bulbs for the electric candles. They have their fall things out, and owls seem to be a favorite this year. I was still looking for "Country Sampler," but JoAnn doesn't carry that, so we made a short stop at Hobby Lobby. It was a delight: rows upon rows of autumn trinkets, garlands, decorations, and glassware. They have the cutest fox statues this year! And they already have rows and rows of Christmas things out, including trees, a sad reminder that I have to go looking for a Christmas tree this year. I'm never fond of Hobby Lobby models, though. They had the specialty ornaments out (for different interests and occupations), the glass ornaments, garlands, wreaths, statues...almost everything for decorating except the lights, and in the back stands of crafting items. Some really pretty things, including old fashioned tags with hole protectors done in six different vintage prints. I bought some millifiore beads with the coupon.

In any case, it was clouded over again, but no rain, by the time we finished, and we were able to open the windows while we were driving. On the way home we stopped at Baskin-Robbins for ice cream.

Been sitting this evening trying to read. Tucker has been particularly temperamental tonight. I had to take his mouse away from him because he tried to nip me. James stopped playing with him because he was so fractious. I don't know what's gotten into him today.

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