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, 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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Flourish

» 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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Flourish

» Friday, July 18, 2014
My Friday at Walmart

Yeah, sad. I've reached that stage of life where sleeping late is a reward. I remember the mornings I couldn't wait to get up! Leaving on vacation! When WLNE ran Lassie at 7 a.m. on Saturdays! Leaving on vaction! Going up to New Hampshire to see the leaves! Convention days! Leaving on vacation! Going to Newport for a Sunday picnic! Catching the train to Boston!

Did I mention leaving on vacation?

So this is why I didn't get to WallyWorld until almost eleven, since I also needed to eat breakfast and take Tucker on his walk. We were halfway up the street when we both spied His Deadly Foe the German Shepherd. I did an about face and walked him down in the cul-de-sac instead. Incidentally, I was proud of Tucker this morning. We are teaching him that there are toys you can tug on and toys that are for throwing. The toys we have for throwing he is asked to "drop" before we throw them even if he wants to play tug with them, especially his ball. This morning he found a small whiteboard eraser in the street. He sniffed it and decided it was a "treasure" and picked it up. I said "drop" and he did.

I went to Walmart for clothes...honest! James is wearing a pair of pajama pants around the house because Tucker's claws are so sharp. (We need to take him to be groomed and have them properly filed down.) All his pajama pants are plaid, so I thought if I got him a solid color it would distinguish them from the dog-free pajamas. They had only six pair of pajama pants and they were all small or medium. I also looked for something for me, but Walmart is making them differently this year and I didn't want them in that style. What I ended up was mostly buying stuff for James' lunches and breakfasts: low-carb chocolate milk for occasional treats, baked chips, sugar-free candies and pudding, chimchangas, some "limited edition" Hot Pockets (Angus beef and pulled pork). All I bought for me were a bag of cherries and two DVDs (the Americal Girl films collection for $10 and the entire series of Daria). I packed the perishables in the insulated bag, and headed for Barnes & Noble, since someone on my Christmas mailing list said she'd gotten her autumn issue of "Country Sampler." The autumn magazines are Due Anytime Now and am I ready! Alas, not in the stores yet.

On the way home I stopped at Aldi for milk.

Ate lunch while watching Daria. I wasn't a regular watcher, but I always kept it on if I passed by it while channel changing. Poor Daria, stuck with clueless dad, business-obsessed mom, and a sister whose only talent is making people like her; otherwise she's a brainless git. And I love the opening episode, a parody of  touchy-feely self-esteem snoozefest classes taught by a teacher who's just parroting the book he's been given.

Had supper at Golden Corral (no, they don't have those tasty egg rolls at supper). The teriyaki beef strips were outstanding, though. Also had some pork riblets and popcorn shrimp, and just a small slice of chocolate cake for dessert. Then we drove to the Barnes & Noble on Dallas Highway. We had all the coupons this time, and James had a gift card he thought he lost until Tucker dredged it up from under his desk. So he bought Larry Correia's new hardback and a $10 magazine for $5. I bought a mystery story featuring Thoreau as the detective—I particularly liked that the author is trying to use authentic language for the period; I don't think he'll call an unmarried lady "Ms." or talk about someone's "baby bump" as I've seen in other historicals—and also Dawn of the Belle Epoque (her sequel to this, Twilight of the Belle Epoque, has just been released).

And tonight was Ken Cook's last day on Fox 5 Atlanta. Retiring, the lucky dog. I'll still never forget the time he referred to June 21 as the equinox. :-)

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Flourish

» Sunday, July 13, 2014
Food Run

There's always a restocking day, and that was today. Several favorites were on twofer, so we went to Publix first, and then hit Kroger for staples. I did get bananas at Publix, as there's always a fifty-fifty chance Kroger's will be green. However, I was thinking of salad for supper, but Kroger's baby greens have spinach in them. I've despised spinach since I was a kid, and it's one of the few vegetables James hates. So in the bargain meat bin at Kroger we found boneless pork ribs. Once home, we popped them in the crock pot with a bottle of no-sugar tomato and basil spaghetti sauce and bits of leftover romano cheese. It had six hours to cook.

In the meatime, we went to BJs. I needed Chex mix for work lunches and Costco doesn't carry it, and we needed bulk mandarin oranges and mushrooms as well. We also had some coupons. I had planned that we'd go there and then stop at Barnes & Noble as a relaxi-treat on the way home, but James' gas light went on and we needed a couple of gallons to get us there (the BJs gas stations had a special; if you shopped first and then got gas, you got ten cents a gallon off, which brought it down to $3.39/gallon). So since we were across the street from the bookstore we went there first. I found two nice books in the bargain bin, an ecclesiastical mystery set in England and Lost to Time, a book about historical events that have been largely forgotten, including Sybil Ludington's ride and the explosion of the steamboat Sultana, which was covered on History Detectives last week. Plus I picked up the July "Good Food" for James.

As I returned to the front of the store, one of the baristas came out of the Starbucks with an iced coffee. She said she'd made it by mistake and asked if I wanted it. I don't usually do coffee anymore because too much caffeine plays havoc with my heartbeat, but I figured a few sips couldn't hurt. Wow, I understand now why some people complain about Starbucks. Even after I dumped another packet of sugar in it, it was bitter, and it tasted like the grounds were being left on my tongue. When I was old enough to drink coffee, I drank the local store brand, Autocrat, and I could make a better batch of coffee when I was school-age using the percolator! If nothing else, this definitely needed more cream. But it was cold, so I took several sips, and then used the cup to cool off my neck and my ears.

Anyway, it was as hot as Hades by now. We sizzled just walking into BJs. However, we found all that we were looking for, plus got toothbrushes, Swiffer cloths, foodstuffs for DragonCon, large bags of Skinny Pop that were not cheese flavored, and even found the bagged Romano cheese we bought previously, after not finding it anywhere else and having to resort to grating our own from Whole Paycheck...I mean Whole Foods. This is probably because BJs is from New England and understands that the sun does not rise and set with Parmesan cheese. Nasty stuff.

It took us a while to put everything away, and then we could finally cool off under the fans.

Oh, and supper was delicious. Add ziti and some bread to "zoop" and it was a satisfactory evening meal. For dessert, some excellent watermelon and Brain Games on TV.

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Flourish

» Saturday, July 12, 2014
In Whick We Evade Sleep Once Again

Yes, folks, it's Ornament Premiere weekend already! So I figured we had two choices: we could go to the Hallmark at the Avenue at West Cobb when it opened at nine, then go on to Hair Day, or get up earlier and go to the Hallmark out at Merchant's Walk, which was opening at eight, hit Trader Joe's afterward if it was open, and then go on to Hair Day. We chose the latter, and as far as I was concerned, it didn't matter because I didn't sleep worth a darn. Urgh.

So we were up at seven, Tucker did all his "good dogs" and we left PBS on for Snowy; fortified with BelVita bars, we drove out to East Cobb through a relatively uncluttered Lower Roswell road, and arrived a little after eight. James actually spent more than I did, but it's because he bought the Star Trek starship, as well as the Rocketeer, El Chupacabra, and this year's airplane, a "Mister Mulligan." (The Blackbird won't be out until October.) I got a mini-Santa for the miniatures tree, the "Father Christmas" which is very woodsy, the Marjolein Bastain bird ornament, and the next "Twelve Days of Christmas" ornament, one of the four calling birds. I also had about $14 worth of coupons, so it helped! Also bought some non-girly everyday wrapping paper on sale.

So we've now discovered how you get front row parking at Trader Joe's: arrive before nine o'clock. We bought some coffee cake and some brownie bites, plus some chips, for Hair Day, and restocked chicken sausage, some chips for James' lunchbox, some dark chocolate mini peanut butter cups for desserts, raw cashews for cooking, and a few other things. We mentioned to the cashier that we weren't going straight home, so she got us a water bottle that had been frozen to put in with the sausage and the chocolate. And when it thaws, we have some water. As it turned out, that was a good thing.

A small crowd, but once again another nice Hair Day. Someone had brought fruit and doughnuts to go along with our cake, and later there were Kosher cold cuts for sandwiches. Colin was talking up a storm about his new job, and Terica had the exciting news that she is going to retire in January. I'm happy for her, but pretty depressed for me! <wry grin>

Today was also the final Brittrack Meet'n'Greet before the picnic and ultimately before DragonCon, so we left about noon to get there by one. Went back the way we came (through my favorite local ride via Villa Rica Road and the horse farms) and had no trouble, parking in the municipal parking lot behind Johnnie MacCracken's, which, we discovered after we paid the five dollars last time, is free on weekends. It had been foggy and cool when we left the house; it definitely wasn't now, the sun beating down on us like a grill flame, and going into the dark pub was a relief. It was a small crowd, ten folks besides us, and Alan actually got to show up; he usually has to work (instead he has to close tonight; urgh). Ironically Rob couldn't come, because he did have to work. Alan was talking about a small convention he'd gone to near Huntsville, and Caro and Jason are getting an Australian shepherd puppy soon.

Last time we were here I was wild about their potato/leek/barley soup and was determined to have it again, and I also got a bit freakish and picked something for a side called Irish tater tot nachos: tater tots with corned beef and cheese on them. Well, the latter was delicious. But the soup...I have no idea what happened with the soup. What I got in June was a thick, rich, creamy soup stuffed with potatoes. Today they brought me something thin and yellowish with grease bubbles on top. It had barley and leeks in it all right, but absolutely no potatoes. I blinked at the waiter owlishly. "Are you sure this is the potato leek soup?" because, honestly, it looked and tasted like badly made tortilla soup. He said it was. I didn't eat it and he took it off the bill. Ugh. James had the shepherd's pie which he said he expected to be savory and it was actually kind of sweet. Mike and Kelly were sitting with us and Mike's fish (as in fish and chips) were overcooked, and the Irish soda bread James and Kelly got with their shepherd's pie was burned on the edges. The waiter said they were shorthanded in the kitchen but that was a bit much. Really disappointed.

So afterwards we did as last time, walked over to the Corner Shop to stock up on British treats, and finally to SweeTreats for desserts. We had cups this time instead of cones; simply too much ice cream in the cones. I had coffee and cinnamon mixed with chocolate. The cinnamon's been coming up on me all night. Otherwise, quite tasty!

Everyone started splitting up by then (it was about three o'clock) and we figured at this point we too were heading home. Fate had a rude surprise in store, though, as we rounded the corner back to the parking lot with Mike and Kelly about ten feet in front of us. They were stopped in the parking lot and I heard Mike say "I think our car's been stolen!"

Well, they'd come in late, and had also parked behind the pub. Unfortunately they missed the sign in their hurry to arrive—the one that said the parking lot closest to the building was private; I mean, their car was cattycorner to the truck, but on the wrong side of the parking area. So their car had been towed. The sign said they had to call a number and bring a jaw-dropping amount in cash to someplace on Commerce Street. Well, how in the heck they were supposed to do that in the middle of downtown Marietta? It's not like it's overflowing with ATMs or cabs. It's a good thing we were there! James programmed the address into his GPS and then took Kelly to find an ATM to get the money and to pick up the car. Mike and I went back into the pub to sit. The waitress told us that the owner of the lot keeps a camera in there and immediately nabs anyone who doesn't come into his kiln shop. Mike was fit to be tied, and the woman who answered the phone didn't help as she was really rude to him.

But it all ended happily, besides there being that horrendous fine: they made it back before five; if they hadn't they couldn't have picked up the car until Monday. James said Kelly kept thanking him, but goodness, what kind of people would we have been if we just abandoned them there? God knows after ten minutes of standing in that hot sun, my heart was pounding like a bass drum, and I was so glad to sit back down in the pub. For a few minutes I was afraid it would never stop beating so hard. I wouldn't have left anyone in that predicament.

Finally it was back home to cool off and get in some Tucker and Snowy time. We watched most of Brave (except for the part which was pre-empted by a thunderstorm that sprang up out of nowhere) and Snowy sang his way through the score. Tucker has already teased some stuffing out of his new mouse!

And as of ten minutes ago I shut the television off because I simply can't stand the damn thing yammering anymore...

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Flourish

» Tuesday, July 08, 2014
The Simple Woman's Daybook

FOR TODAY, July 8, 2014

Outside my window...
...it is a little after 9 p.m. and almost dark. These long summer evenings are unsettling. I would rather have the daylight in the morning, when I need it. The sun is already rising later each day since the solstice has passed.

I am thinking...
...it's going to be a long week. No compressed day off this week, and my sinuses are giving me fits. The more I wear my glasses, the more it hurts. They are calling for rain at the end of the week, and the sinus pain may be from the pressure building up. It feels like someone pounding on the bridge of my nose with a hammer.

I am thankful...
...that so far there has been a nice breeze almost every day. It helps to make the summer more bearable. I'm hoping it will keep up through the next eight weeks...hell, through the next twelve weeks, since September is just as hot here as July is.

In the kitchen...
...still leftovers of our lamb dinner, and some fried rice Rice'a'Roni as well. I think they screwed up the flavor packet of the latter, as it sure didn't taste like the usual mixture. It's my favorite flavor as it has some crunchy veggies in it.

I am wearing...
...black tank top and black shorts, and pink socks. ("Little pink sock!" as Mooch in "Mutts" would think.)

I am creating...
...a blog entry. :-)

I am going...
...to sleep late on Sunday, and screw the groceries! Sunday is a full plate: Hair Day, Brittrack get-together, and the Hallmark Ornament Premiere. I can't believe it's that time already.

I am wondering...
...it's fourth quarter. The only thing I wonder at this time of year is if I'm going to make it. Every year it seems like more and more of a miracle. I'm having trouble concentrating this year, too. I thought it was due to my depression over Willow's death, but that seems to be receding and Tucker is helping to fill that raw, gaping hole. My sinuses hurt and my left eyelid is constantly pulling.
 
I am reading...
...I just finished a book of "Gaslamp fantasies," Queen Victoria's Book of Spells, which I quite enjoyed. Now I'm reading 1941: Our Lives in a World on the Edge, which covers December of 1940 through December of 1941. It's not just military and political events, but social items as well. Superman products were popular Christmas gifts in the US in 1940. Menachem Begin celebrated New Year 1941 in a Russian prison. Very enjoyable.

I am hoping...
...my sinus headache goes away. It only does when I'm asleep lately.

I am looking forward to...
...seeing friends this weekend. During the week we live in a vacuum, because frankly we're bushed by the time we get done with work.

I am learning...
...more about 1941!

Around the house...
...James is at the computer, looking at articles about aircraft. Tucker is quiet, which is probably suspicious! Snowy occasionally chatters behind me. I'm watching History Detectives, which is discussing the mystery of Glenn Miller's death.
 
I am pondering...
...this mystery. So many theories about his death! Of course the weather was dreadful; the plane probably just crashed from iced wings. But supposedly Miller was a spy. Or dying of cancer. Or downed by friendly fire.

A favorite quote for today...
“Perhaps one central reason for loving dogs is that they take us away from this obsession with ourselves. When our thoughts start to go in circles, and we seem unable to break away, wondering what horrible event the future holds for us, the dog opens a window into the delight of the moment.”
― Jeffrey Moussaieff Masson

One of my favorite things...
...watching Tucker do "turbo terrier" around the room. Tonight the gate was open and he did a big slalom course around the room and through our bedroom. He goes flat out so that he almost touches the floor; I'm amazed the way he makes the sharp turns, ninety degrees or sometimes even more acute.

A few plans for the rest of the week:
Work, work, work, until it's Saturday and time for some fun.

A peek into my day...
I sat at my desk for nine hours, but I did take Tucker for a fifteen minute walk this morning, and then out this afternoon for another half hour, most of which was spent in the back yard where he sniffed for squirrels and I chirped "Go potty!" He also watched while I took the flag down and the tinsel flag on the front door, replaced the wreath, and put up a brand new flag which has flowers and birds on it. At suppertime we watched Make Room for Daddy.


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

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Flourish

» Sunday, July 06, 2014
Sunny With a Chance of Terrier Bouncing

Ready or not, I woke up at 9:30. This meant I could nudge James and ask "Do you want to run to Kroger now before the crowd gets there?"

Since I was dressed first, I was the one to take Tucker on a quick walk to get "mission accomplished" and then, to his perplexity, he was given a cookie and a straight route back into the crate. Snowy just glanced at me balefully but perked up once I put the History Channel on for him.

Before 10:30, Kroger, even the Battle Ridge store, is a dream. We whisked right through and still ended up spending nearly an hour there. Once home we could feed Tucker and ourselves. By then I was falling asleep again, so we went out to do a couple of errands.

I had a Bed, Bath & Beyond coupon that would expire on Monday, and we had another, and since I have no idea what I did with the chill cloths after I washed them out after DragonCon last year, I wanted to make sure we had two more just in case I couldn't find the originals, as those things are a godsend. So it was an in-and-out trip to BB&B, and then we had a better time at Barnes & Noble among the books. I discovered Topsy was out in trade paperback; I've been waiting for that for what seems like forever. (It's the story of the "rogue elephant" that Thomas Edison electrocute at Coney Island to show the dangers of George Westinghouse's AC current, but it's also the story of the circus elephant in America, a very sad tale altogether when you read about how these animals were treated.) I also picked up the new "Manor House" mystery, and James got a little lighted model of the starship Enterprise.

By then it was sizzling out and we went home to listen to "The Splendid Table" and "Wait! Wait! Don't Tell Me," the latter being a clip show. I was finishing up Essays of E.B. White (extremely enjoyable! I have been reading slowly to savor them), and before I knew it, it was suppertime and we had peanut pork and jasmine rice mix. As the sun lowered in the sky I noticed Tucker becoming more and more clingy when he wasn't enticing us to toss one of his toys. This only became understandable when I took him out before bedtime and some idiots were still shooting off firecrackers. Later on he retreated to his "cave"—one of the chairs under the dining room table.

Watched Brain Games, too; that was fun!

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Flourish

» Saturday, July 05, 2014
"There and Back Again"

We took a flying trip down to Warner Robins and back today. James' niece Nicki and her fiancè Vincent drove down yesterday from New Jersey to surprise her mother Candy (James' sister, natch). She told everyone on Facebook except Candy and James' mom, and the surprise was successful according to the triumphant followup post. :-)

Anyway, we were up at eight so that Tucker would have a proper airing and I could chat with Snowy, and all of us could have breakfast. We'd planned to leave at 10:30, but after we put the gifts (belated birthday gifts for Mom) and our hats in the car James realized he couldn't find his reader tablet. I knew he had it yesterday at Michael's, but didn't remember if he came out of Lowe's with it. We started for Lowe's and then he remembered that wasn't our last stop; he had it at Publix and that was. Sure enough, some honest person had turned it in. Then we had to feed the car. We didn't get on the road until eleven.

So James had talked to Candy (after Nicki arrived, of course) and got her cell number, as they were planning to go to Fort Valley for peaches this morning. We were supposed to call her as we got on I-475 skirting Macon, but we got voicemail instead. James repeated the action when we got to Watson Boulevard. Voicemail again. He also called the house, but there was no answer.

Well, we had brought a little bouquet of red,white and blue flowers for James' dad's grave, so we just figured they weren't back yet and went to the cemetery. We stood under the tree next to the grave for a while, listening to the gentle jingle of the wind chimes hung from the branches. Then, when we still didn't get an answer, we went back to the Books-a-Million on Watson Boulevard to use the facilities, get a frozen hot chocolate at the Joe Muggs coffee shop, and, of course, check out the books. I found a cross-stitch magazine and bought a copy of David McCullough's The Greater Journey: Americans in Paris for $5.

Since James transferred the phone number into his phone last night at midnight, he had the sneaking suspicion that he might have transposed some digits. Now, he didn't know where his sister Sabra worked, but he knew the company she worked for. So he got his tablet, looked up the company's properties in Warner Robins, and called them one by one. He lucked out on the second one and Sabra herself answered the phone. So we got all the cell phone numbers straightened out. But by that time I'd gotten a Facebook message back from both Nicki and Candy in response to my "We be here. Where be you?" query.

We only had a few hours to socialize, so we chatted and made the most of it. Nicki was helping Mom use her iPad, and Candy cuddled Jenny the fluffy dog. The last time we saw the poor dog, she was mostly hairless from an allergy. Whatever medicine she was put on evidently worked, as she is now thickly furred in white. They were going to go out to dinner, but not until Sabra got out of work and got out of her work clothes; they didn't expect to eat until seven. We didn't want to leave Tucker crated that long, so we left about five, picking up some Firehouse Subs on the way home and listening to an episode of "A Way With Words." We also topped off the car's gas tank as gas is 19 cents a gallon cheaper there than the least expensive station I could find in Atlanta. In fact, if I knew it was so cheap down there, I would have just put six gallons in the car before we left and filled up there!

Tucker's been bouncing off the walls since we got home, of course. We managed to occupy him for a full fifteen minutes by putting a Kong cookie into the other "work the dog's imagination" toy. He didn't get it out; he just got bored. And I don't know what they put in those Greenies' Pill Pockets, but Tucker nearly fell over his feet trying to get to the one we had enclosing the second half of his worm pill. Snowy was evidently bored by Britcoms, but started singing the moment I put the news on. :-)

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Flourish

» Friday, July 04, 2014
BOOM! POP! BANG!

So, as you probably figured, we slept late. We did stay up until after Fallon was over after all. And I'm trying to gain sleep points for end-of-fiscal-year, because after this it's Katy-bar-the door.

But first things first:

 H A P P Y   I N D E P E N D E N C E   D A Y!

After perambulating the puppy, we went out for that all-American breakfast: Panera! By the time we got there they were serving lunch, so I had both, a bowl of chicken soup with a baguette and a bagel with roasted vegetable cream cheese. Yum!

It looked like every single store was open today. While I appreciate the opportunity to pick up dog food and more stuff for Tucker (we've spent more on this dog in a month than I spend on clothes in a year!), it's kinda sad, too. I guess that's celebrating the American way: shopping. So we bought Tucker more food, tried another one of those "keep the dog occupied" toys (he has to figure out how to get the chicken-flavored cookie out of it), another extendable leash because James wanted a longer one, and a funny monkey stick toy which said it was for active dogs and had two squeakers. [Note: he tore a hole in it before the night was over.] Then we went to Michaels because I had coupons. We bought a hook to hang the leash on and I bought a beautiful fall arrangement, a wall hanging: leaf frame with artificial leaves, pumpkins, and squash against it. While we were there we went to Petsmart next door and bought Tucker a new squeak mouse because he has pretty much destroyed the old one. [Note: He broke the squeaker before the night was over.] James also got a tie-out line for the back yard. At night he takes Tucker back there and sits under the deck while Tucker sniffs around. We got a 30-foot one.

One final stop: I bought a small crate originally designed for DVDs in Dollar Tree. It's to put the dog toys in. :-)

On the way home we realized we still needed something from Lowe's, so we just drove straight there. James got two lag bolts to mount on the deck posts to fasten the tie-out line on, and a hook to hang the line on.

Whew! Finally home, and before I let Tucker out of his crate I threw away the three toys he destroyed so he wouldn't miss them. He didn't. and he figured the puzzle toy out in about fifteen minutes. So much for all day distraction!

We watched 1776 and you should have heard Snowy singing to the music [later on, too]. He was singing along to the Pops last night, too, in full symphony! I remember when I used to dance with Bandit to "He Plays the Violin." He never figured out why we were doing it, but he knew it made me happy. This was interrupted by (a) taking Tucker out back and installing the lag-bolt (he still can't reach the fence to bark at Topaz the white German Shepherd and is not happy about it even on a 30-foot lead) and (b) cooking dinner. We finished just in time to turn on A Capitol Fourth and watch the festivities from Washington, DC. Either the sunset lent more color to them, or they had some violently orange fireworks this year! Lots of "willows" (those big waterfall-looking ones), too, to remind us of our girl.

Poor Tucker—first he tried to mooch our dinner (steak, corn on the cob, and apple pie for dessert) unsuccessfully, and then people started off shooting off fireworks down the street. The books say to ignore this and act like everything is the same as it always is, so James played with him, and he had a Dentastix, and then he finally lay down to sleep in front of the fireplace on his rug. When Capitol Fourth was over, we changed channels and watched the fireworks from Centennial Olympic Park. They had a great finale to the armed services songs and "Stars and Stripes Forever." Then I put on the Macy's 4th of July Spectacular which was recording on the DVR and we've been hopping between commercials ever since to see the performers. They even showed a couple of musical performances from Red Rocks out west, from Nashville at the Grand Ole Opry, and from Fenway Park. I guess this means Arthur went out to sea; I know it poured on the annual parade in Bristol, RI, this morning! Just waitin' on the fireworks now!

[Later: Nice show!!! I loved them using the Brooklyn Bridge as a launch area for some of the fireworks. One set of them looked like giant golden brooms! The waterfall effect was really cool, especially the stars and stripes version. Some shapes here, too: cubes, spheres, "Saturns" (well that's what I call them, a sphere of fireworks with a ring around it), smiley faces. Again, not a lot of purple as in the last few years. Did they discover the pigment was poisonous?  Nice music, too, I especially liked the jazz arrangements.]

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» Thursday, July 03, 2014
Happy 3rd of July!

This year my compressed schedule brought me an unexpected bonus. If your compressed day off is on a holiday, you get to take the day before off. A little extra independence, if you will.

I didn't really have anything planned for today except for washing my work clothes, since I'd forgotten to do them on Tuesday, and changing the bed. So I got a nice full eight hours sleep, then took Tucker on his morning constitutional. One of the families in the upper cul-de-sac has a little "dustmop" dog, the cute shaggy white kind, and they alerted on each other. I took Tucker straight on to the main street, but he hadn't forgotten the little dog and checked for him on the way back. Although it was already warm, there was a fresh breeze blowing (a combination of winds from Tropical Storm Arthur and a cold front—think 80s instead of 90s—coming in from the west) and if you were in the shade it was actually quite pleasant. So I crossed the street to where there's a line of pine trees between two homes. Tucker went rigid and growled, then stepped up to the bushes underneath, pace by pace, scraping his hind legs and growling. Never saw anything, but he sure did!

After we both had breakfast, I called him back into his crate and did something else necessary: washed the kitchen floor. I also started the clothes, but didn't do the bed until afternoon.

In the meantime I was thinking about something. We had found out that the Boston Pops July 4 concert had been moved up to tonight because the weather predictions (tonight a storm, tomorrow possible heavy rain from Arthur, which was developing into a hurricane) were better for tonight. They were busy getting the fireworks assembled and the Hatch Shell ready. Well, they were streaming it online for the first time since those [unprintable adjectives] from CBS decided to drop the broadcast (at least what piddling little they were giving us; only an hour of a 2 1/2 hour concert). (Apparently Hawaii Five-0 and Blue Bloods reruns are more important.) The more I thought about it, the less I wanted to entrust my viewing to a wireless signal. So after I threw the bedclothes in the washer, I drove to MicroCenter for a new Cat5 cable. Since this was MicroCenter, I couldn't just leave with only a cable. I bought a portable recharger for my phone (it works fine; I tried it out tonight), a mouse pad, and a tiny camera case for my spare phone battery and earbuds.

Once home I finished up the bedclothes, changed the sheets, vacuumed a little, and took the dog out again just before James arrived home. It was our potlucks night and I took the leftover chicken leg from Tuesday, sliced off the meat in thin bits, then cooked up an Annie Chung teriyaki noodle bowl. When the noodles were done, I added some slivered almonds and the chicken, poured the sauce on top and warmed it up for another minute. It was a delicious supper.

And I was glad I went out for the network cable. I'm not going to say the picture was totally HD and there was a certain amount of minor jerkiness to it. But the sound was great and it was clear enough, and we enjoyed the whole thing. Unfortunately a big line of thunderstorms was marching in from the west, so they skipped the traditional "1812 Overture" and "Stars and Stripes Forever" and went directly into the fireworks. The show was fabulous, although the bunches of purple fireworks so prominent in the past few years were not in evidence this year. They had something new this year, one with a sparkly foil scrap sort of center surrounded by a more traditional firework light. Plus smiley faces, stars in circles, and hearts. The neat thing was that more than half of the shots were aerial, and you could see things like Fenway Park (with a game in progress, it looked like) and the famous Citgo sign. Once the fireworks finished they showed last year's "1812 Overture."

And we stayed up entirely too late...again...

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» Saturday, June 28, 2014
New Adventures

I did something wonderful last night.

I shut off the alarm clock. It deserved cheers. It was a very long week, one in which I got very little sleep due to bad dreams. This edition was about two forms. I had to have one form correct before I could submit the second. Needless to say, for reasons I never understood after I woke up, the first form was never completed. I hate these harassing dreams; it's like being chased.

So we slept in this morning, at least until before 9:30. We ate breakfast on the run because I wanted to take Tucker to the dog park this morning. We finally got out of the house at 10:30.

Tucker seemed to have a good time at the dog park. We didn't let him off the leash because he doesn't always come when called. Also, the worrisome thing was a sign on the gate that said "large dogs." I looked; there wasn't another enclosure for smaller dogs. So that means small dogs can't go to the dog park? He did get defensive at a pair of black standard poodles, but made a buddy, a mixed-breed short-haired brown dog a little bit larger than he was. This dog would run up to the fence and greet every new dog coming in. We actually arrived during a lull, with only this brown dog there for a while. As we were leaving, the second shift showed up: a couple with two Great Pyrenees (Tucker touched noses with them politely), a lab, a  Golden Retriever, and a couple of other mixed breeds.

We also went to Petsmart, as we needed to get him a new extendible leash (he chewed on the old one and I had it knotted and didn't trust it). We also got a dog whistle, a clicker, and a tie-out line (this is something we want to try for when he goes out at night—he will not be on it unsupervised). A big dog started barking at him, and he stood his ground and yarped back until I pulled him off. I also checked out their PetsHotel service; yow! that's expensive!

After his two adventures we took him home and fed him his breakfast, then went out to finally hunt up a meal for ourselves. We ended up at Golden Corral, where me and my grey streaks and James with his cane got us the senior meal deal; we didn't even ask for it! I had a nice smorgasbord of popcorn shrimp, two spring rolls, honey sesame chicken, pot roast, and a bowl of chicken soup, with a slice of chocolate cake, a chocolate-covered marshmallow, and some watermelon for dessert.

I think we intended to stay out longer, but the heat just started sapping the energy out of us. We stopped at the Town Center Petsmart to see if they had a four-foot leash (we want to keep this in the car; it will also be good for situations where we want to keep him under control, like the Farmer's Market). I bought him a sale priced "Martha Stewart" brand toy (a little hedgehog that he managed to destroy later in a little less than three hours; he chewed the ears and paws off it, eviscerated it and extracted the squeaker—flashback time; Willow always extracted the squeaker from her toys and then lost interest in them—and then tore out about half of the stuffing so the living/dining area looked like a cotton field) and a cheap clicker. We also stopped at Michaels and JoAnn to use some coupons, and by then the heat felt like it had drained us completely. We made one more stop, at Costco to get gas for the truck, and were home by 3:30. We spent the afternoon cooling off and listening to "Wait! Wait! Don't Tell Me" and "The Splendid Table" as I was slowly driven mad by the new version of my podcast app, MyPod. The creator has completely redesigned it and while I was exclaiming this morning about how slick it looked, by this afternoon it was driving me wild. The worst part is that it looks like it doesn't keep a record of what you already listened to. That's fine if you are listening to things every week and keeping up to date. I'm still listening to back episodes of "Travel with Rick Steves." Urgh.

Oh, I have definite confirmation that Snowy is indeed talking! I've heard a lot of subvocalizing from him, and sometimes he sounds like he's saying words, but tonight after the podcasts finished, we didn't put the television back on right away and I clearly heard him say "Good boy!" A little later he muttered "Good bird."

Tonight Tucker finished killing the squeak toy. :-)

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On This Day...

 ...100 years ago, Archduke Franz Ferdinand and his wife Sophie were assassinated, putting Europe on the road to the First World War (and ultimately to World War II).

Bio.com Article with Video

History.com Article

Eyewitness to History Article

Smithsonian Article About the Archduke's Car

First World War, 100 Years On: The Assassination

Buzzfeed's 99 Things You Need To Know About Franz Ferdinand Before The 100th Anniversary Of His Assassination


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» Sunday, June 22, 2014
Turbo Mom

Unfortunately James had to be turbo dad this morning and go off to work. I took the opportunity to soak up a little more sleep; I woke up several times during the night and didn't feel as if I'd had a restful night. First of all I took Tucker outside, but I had to take him up the street and back as well before we could accomplish his mission (right in front of the German Shepherd's house, of course). As we came back to the house, he was limping a little and worrying at his right forepaw. I struggled to get him upside down when we got inside—no blood, no cut, no sharp object sticking out from the pad or between the toes. So I cleaned it out with peroxide and then wiped it off before confining him to his crate to relax. (Tonight he is bouncing around the house as if nothing happened. Perhaps he was bitten by an ant.)

I had shopping to finish, so headed up to the Kroger at Battle Ridge, about a half hour behind. Still, it was only about ten, so there weren't a lot of people in the store. Bought bread for lunch, pork chops for tomorrow's dinner, milk, yogurt, some burritos and Special K flatbread sandwiches for James, and ice cream bars for dessert. Once I had those home, I drove into Buckhead hoping their Barnes & Noble had a May "Best of British." "Skunked again," as Ralphie Parker would say. I had about an hour's stroll about the books, and then headed home. I'd completely forgotten about the coupons I had for BreatheRights which expired tomorrow, so I had to stop at Kroger again. But I did get to pick up more SkinnyPop, thanks to the tall young man who helped me get it down from the tallest shelf.

Once at home, I had a bunch more things to do, so I let Tucker rest his foot. I washed the covers on James' computer chair and on his recliner, and vacuumed the upstairs level and then put the plush blanket down for Tucker. (He hates the memory foam dog bed, so I folded it up into a plastic bag and put it in the garage.) I also shelved some books in the library and put others in the box to take to McKay's in the future, made the bed, and set up everything for the work week. Between that I watched interminable episodes of House Hunters, which was the best thing on the idiot box (I miss decorating shows on HGTV!).

There was a nice breeze going when I took Tucker out in the back yard about five. I've discovered that carrying a squirt bottle with me and spraying water on my arms and neck helps a lot. I also bought a cheap box of dryer sheets today because I read that they repel mosquitoes. We'll see. :-) Tucker was bitterly disappointed that there were no squirrels to chase and no dogs in the back yard next door to bark at. As we came back out of the yard and approached the front door, he froze, then barked. I looked up, and there was the German Shepherd on his walk. Tucker's like that little guy in the bar fight; he's got no chance against the huge brawny guys, but he's going down swinging. Little idiot.

He settled down nicely until James got home—late again due to a call that came in two minutes before he left—and then went berserk, running up and down and jumping because he was so glad to see him. And Snowy started to sing!

We had our favorite summer Sunday supper: teriyaki chicken in a salad of mixed greens (with an extra heaping helping of the frisee I bought yesterday), mandarin oranges, chow mein noodles, and slivered almonds. Crunch, meat, and vegetables all at once. Yummy.

More Tucker pics below:





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» Saturday, June 21, 2014
Across Town

Alas, Saturday morning came all too soon, but we wanted to go to the Farmer's Market and take Tucker with us. First we had to try to get him to do other things. :-) It was shaping up to be a blazing hot day, temps headed for the 90s, but there was a nice brisk breeze out that, at least, made the yard cool. By the time we hit the Square, everyone seemed to be there: not only was the Farmer's Market in full swing, but this morning was the artist market, too, and there was some kind of Civil War re-enactment going on, not to mention the dozens of cute little girls going to ballet class. But by circling the square (that sounds oddly geometric), we found a handicapped parking space in front of the courthouse.

Tucker was overwhelmed. Dozens of dogs, even more people, and smells, smells, smells: frying bacon, fresh tomatoes, pastries, cheeses, flowers, honey, shea butter, breads, and even dog biscuits. He comported himself well with the other dogs, from a huge grey Great Dane to two of the tiniest Yorkshire Terriers I've ever seen (one was the size of a kitten). He and a corgi went for some dropped bits of Pine Street Market bacon and the corgi nearly snapped his nose off. We arrived at the Big Daddy dog biscuit booth at the same time an adorable Australian shepherd puppy named Ty was there. Tucker sniffed the youngster curiously. He also met greyhounds, an indeterminate fuzzy terrier, and several others. Besides the dog biscuits, we bought fresh tomatoes and cucumbers, and more chicken salad for James, who was limping badly by the time we got back to the truck.

Came home, had something for breakfast while Tucker ate his, then lured him into his crate. The one thing we had to do today was drive cross-town (again) to the vet. When they tested him last week, they found out he had roundworms! I was a bit aghast—they gave him vaccines at the rescue, but didn't worm him? But apparently this is common with rescue dogs. Before we got on the freeway, we stopped at Barnes & Noble. Yesterday I saw something there that I thought might make a good gift for a couple of people. James agreed with me, so we stopped and bought them first.

The vet stop was unremarkable. While I was waiting for the meds, two folks came in with boarders, two big English springer spaniels, and an absolutely huge German Shepherd.

Discovered there's a Sprouts store (healthy grocery store) opening in the old Harris-Teeter store behind the vet before driving on to the Buford Highway Farmer's Market; since we were on this side of town, it was a good chance to stock up. We found a handicapped spot near the door and James found a cart, which was a relief. We picked up slivered almonds, frisee for our salad tomorrow night, onions, some chicken drumsticks almost as big as turkey legs, turkey wings, lamb steaks, and Italian sausage (hoping it won't be as salty as last time), Ritter peppermint candy bars for desserts, some rice noodles, sesame oil, low sodium teriyaki sauce, and some pork/vegetable wontons. And a Toblerone dark chocolate bar to share (only half) since we haven't had one as a treat since Fry's quit carrying them in the checkout line.

(The Buford Highway Farmer's Market is a trip. If you live in Atlanta, you ought to go there at least once. They carry chiefly Asian specialties, so many Asian specialties, in fact, that there are separate aisles for Japanese, Chinese, Korean, Filipino, and Thai food, plus several Hispanic aisles, a combined aisle that is Italian and Spanish on one side and British, French, and Dutch on the other, and two aisles of Eastern European. There are many tropical fruits in the produce department, a big fresh fish market in the back, and meat products you will never find at Kroger. Today, the guy next to me picked up "ox pizzle." No, not the cow version of "Rocky Mountain oysters," but the other item that pairs with them.)

As we headed west we noticed the clouds building up, and by the time we reached the traffic light at Cobb Parkway it was grey and stormy-looking, the wind whipping the trees about. James rolled down his window and the temperature had gone from stifling to quite nice. We left the windows open for the rest of the ride, and then when we got in I rushed Tucker outside in hopes that he'd do his Good Dogs, and he did. And we picked up the mail. Alas, we had some thunder, including a long rolling clap that sounded like field artillery in the distance, and a little rain, just enough to wet the street and that was it. It was only 3:30 and we settled down to relax since James has to work tomorrow.

Tucker kept us hopping for a while with "fetch the stuffed mouse" and "throw the squeaky bone." I had breakfast for supper while James had some chili. Watched The New Lassie (the first of three episodes with Roddy McDowall as Andrew Leeds), the news and eventually America's Secret Slang, while we are now in the middle of United Stuff of America. I have been reading Essays of E.B. White off and on all afternoon. I've never read any of White except for Charlotte's Web. James Thurber always talked about how much he admired White's writing, and I can see why. His prose is lovely.

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» Friday, June 20, 2014
"It's a Sweet, Sweet Dream..."

I feel like the Gilbreth kids at the beginning of the film Belles on Their Toes, singing "Lazy...I want to be lazy..." Me, I want eight hours sleep. I got that and went back for another half hour. I was still exhausted from the 70 minute commute yesterday; it took me fifteen minutes just to get on the freeway when it should take five. Anyway, next it was breakfast for Tucker and I, and an airing for the dog. At ten o'clock it was already hot, but there was a breeze which helped. I did see ants making a path on one of the upright supports for the deck, so the minute puppydog was inside I was out on the deck spraying with vinegar around the back door, just in case. Makes me nervous. It's those little sugar ants, too; the kind that got into the birdseed container once. I sprayed around that, too.

I had an agenda when I went out: Barnes & Noble, Bed, Bath & Beyond, Costco for gas, then down to the big Publix for twofers. The bookstore trip went fine—the sequel to Thieftaker was out. But BB&B was out of Urine Gone—we have a coupon expiring this weekend and I want one for a spare if Tucker's going to spring surprises on us. Stopped at Costco for gas and thought if I could get a good parking space, I would stop. One came open right up at the front next to the door. Okay, I can take a hint. Bought more bath soap, sampled rice cakes, balsamic sauce (which I would have turned down if I'd known it was topping icky mozzarella), nut-and-chocolate bars, and did find Skinny Pop, but they only have cheddar flavor. So I got some for James, but...grumble.

I bought a lot more at Publix than intended, considering there were only four things on my list, but they had grapes on sale, and I was simply salivating for some plums, and they had Campbell's soup 10 for 10, so I stocked up on chicken broth, and also a couple of cans of vegetarian vegetable. Bought salad for Sunday supper, something to munch on while driving home from work (when I'm usually so hungry I could strip wallpaper and eat that), a nice lamb steak, and several other things that came to $82. Yikes! Since I had the lamb, I had to come straight home.

Had about half of the vegetarian vegetable for lunch with a piece of French bread, and a treat,  part of a tiny can of shoestring potatoes. I also had some of the cherries I bought. I've been really disappointed in the Bing cherries for the past few years, and today's batch was no exception: they weren't exactly sour, but they weren't sweet, either, even though they were nicely dark and firm. I guess I'll have to wait for the Rainer cherries again to get something that's good. Tucker and I also went outside for a while, where he peed but did nothing else but watch for squirrels.

It was after three by then, so I thought I'd settle down and read my June issue of "Early American Life." Then the sun went in. It was nice and cool under the fan, and it was dark, and my eyelids drooped and the futon in the spare room was calling...it has a sweet, tempting voice like a mythic siren. Next thing I knew James was home. He took Tucker outside while I re-dressed, and we had supper at Firehouse subs. I love having their brisket and cheddar without the cheddar. It's real meat and not that deli slop some sandwich shops pass off as meat. After supper we stopped at JoAnn for me to pick up a couple of craft items, then I sat in the truck while James went into Hobbytown for a few minutes. It was a little warm, but the breeze helped, and I was distracted by re-reading All Creatures Great and Small.

Our final stop was the Town Center Bed, Bath & Beyond, and to my astonishment, they were out of Urine Gone as well. The employee I spoke to said someone came in and bought all four bottles they had left. But, since they were out, I could have it shipped to me free of charge. I was even able to add some Plinks (to deodorize the garbage disposal) to the order so that I could use the coupons about to expire. I didn't know this about Bed, Bath & Beyond. Excellent.

Ended up taking Tucker on a walk up to the corner and back when I got home. I brought a squirt bottle of water with me to cool my skin down in the hopes it would make me less desirable to mosquitoes. I don't think I got bitten, but there still was a breeze out there, so that might have kept them down, too. We had come home through Kennesaw National Battlefield Park, where the fireflies were flashing merrily in the underbrush and over the lawns on adjacent Kennesaw Avenue with its old homes and broad swaths of grass, but we didn't have a lot of fireflies here tonight. Instead, the big fat June bugs were blundering about, and at least three bumped into me as I took Tucker up the street and back.

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