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, October 23, 2016
Laid-Back Sunday

It was nice and chilly last night. I slept with the flannel sheet and the fleece, which I love; nothing better than being all curled up under blankets. That's probably why I don't sleep well in summer; I love coverings, but not being hot. Outside it was 42°F, inside a nice 66, a cloudless sky. Too bad it was going up to 75 today. Friday was so perfect.

Once we'd eaten breakfast, it was our usual Sunday trip to Kroger. Since Smyrna's bread is so icky and the Battle Ridge store's bakery so unreliable, we went back up to the store at Dallas Highway. Found ripe bananas instead of the eternally green ones at Smyrna, plus nice looking rolls, bought some mortadella for lunch and James is trying some "low sodium" American cheese. Added to our tea collection. ☺

When we got done we put the milk, the cheese, the mortadella, the crumbled turkey sausage, and the yogurt in the insulated bag so we could go across the street to the Hallmark store. They are running a BOGO on Christmas cards, paper, and other miscellaneous items. We had to wait ten minutes until they opened. It might have been a nice moment next to the little fountain they have in the nearby wall, but it was ruined by canned music coming from hidden speakers. I'm so tired of being "amused." Could have listened to the water and the birds and instead we have to listen to someone caterwauling. Anyway, I'm overflowing with Christmas wrap and have cards for a while, but found a "Peanuts" card design that was delightful, and paired it with a vintage wreath design, plus we bought two specialty ornaments for gifts.

We didn't have any other errands to run or things to buy, so we just went home. We ate lunch. I watched a couple of episodes of Lassie and last week's Elementary, finished a couple of book reviews for NetGalley. James made himself burritos for the week and cleaned the stove. I also "loaded up" the tier dish James bought for me. Publix had had a twofer deal on both Weight Watchers desserts and FiberOne brownies awhile back and we still had all the boxes on the dining room table. I emptied all the boxes and now we have a "dessert display." At least it looks better, and we can see we have dessert for weeks!

We had supper about six (Asian salad with chicken) and then waited for this year's "Treehouse of Horror" on The Simpsons. Don't watch the latter anymore, but "Treehouse" is always fun.

If you get to see it, that is. The fugly football game ran 44 minutes over and when they started up the programming it was stupid Bob's Burgers, the next show. Grrrr. Then it was the next part of The Durrells in Corfu (with a litter of the cutest puppies!), a short pause for a dog walk, and finally Alaska: the Last Frontier.

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» Saturday, October 22, 2016
Friends, Fairs, Feasts and Fluffy Clouds

Well, it's been a lovely day, and it started out with a delicious sleep because it was so cool outside—high forties last night. I wasn't too hot or too cold, but nice and snug under a flannel sheet and a regular sheet. And I believe eight hours sleep was involved, a definite plus. When we got up the house temp was only at 66°F, and I'd left the spare room window open.

We had Hair Day this morning, so I gave Tucker a nice walk in the brisk morning air and then we grabbed our glazed carrot contribution and skedaddled. We were particularly eager to get there to see Lin this morning—she was only just released from hospital yesterday after suffering a heart attack and having a stent put in. Thankfully, even with some health problems she has, she did not have to while away her time in the hospital getting her kidneys in shape. Her only problem at the moment is being unable to eat, so while we had all that good food spread upon the table at lunchtime—roast chicken, oven-baked potatoes, our glazed carrots, and dinner rolls—she couldn't eat anything but the rolls. Hope she is feeling better soon.

Meanwhile it was the usual chat: current events, families, illnesses, upcoming events. Phyllis bought Ron and Lin a Death Star tree topper and they tried it out: it flashes red and green to the "Imperial March" and white and blue to the Star Wars theme. Their tree gets more fannish every year: football, fantasy, SF and more. Always neat to see what they've added to it!

Note to self: Pet Penelope on her head. She does not like you petting her tail, and I have the cat scratch to prove it. How she glowered at me! :-)

We left about two with the rest of the day ahead of us. It was so nice and cool and breezy today that we wanted to go to the Jonquil Festival instead of tomorrow when it would be in the 70s. But first we had to swing by James' work to get the insulin he'd left behind yesterday. Once that was finished, and since we had to go past the house to get to downtown Smyrna anyway, we did stop to pick up my hat, put the remainder of the carrots up, and take Tucker with us. Now this is rather like taking a hyperactive three-year-old to a museum with you, but I think we all had fun. We found a recently vacated parking place behind the library, unloaded the power chair, let Tucker do his business in the bushes, and then had a nice stroll past all the booths. We bought a couple of things for a Christmas gift, sampled the dips, ooohed over the beautiful wood items, and finally came upon a lady who was selling two- and three-tier ceramic dishes in various themes. Now I need one of these like I need a hole in the head, but she had two beautiful autumn/Thanksgiving designs that were just so pretty that James bought me the one I liked best for our anniversary. It's square and has bright leaves and a pretty Thanksgiving sentiment on the middle tier. Surprisingly, we saw no dog biscuit salesmen; the Lose a Finger people weren't there. Neither were the caramel people. Rats.

Tucker enjoyed himself getting petted by friendly strangers and sniffing noses with canine compatriots. Probably the two prettiest dogs were the two different Shetland Sheepdogs, both sable and white, with lush, plush coats, one with a nice blaze like Lassie, but the cutest dog had to be this little female ginger-colored terrier named Roxy. She was a third smaller than he was, but jumped right at him to sniff his nose and then the usual doggy places, and was so forward that he jumped back in surprise. There would be a girl to keep him in his place!

James picked up some jambalaya and red beans and rice for supper, and we had some lemonade. I was tempted by the barbecue, but didn't feel like having it come up on me all night, so I skipped it. We took Tucker home and put him back up in the dining room, then went out again. James wanted to stop by the Publix we had shopped at last night to get whatever was left of the clearance tea he had bought: chocolate orange flavored black tea. He had tried some this morning before we left and loved it. I just jumped out and went in myself, buying the two that were left and then four more boxes of the Chamomile Lemon, which he also likes.

Then we went on to Barnes & Noble to enjoy ourselves for an hour. I picked up a couple of clearance items and a copy of the new "Breathe." We had 15 percent off coupons, but I didn't find anything I wanted and he couldn't decide between the new Travis Taylor book or the new Harry Turtledove book about the Cold War, so I bought him the latter for our anniversary. By then we were kind of "out of gas" and came home. I ended up just having some cereal because it was the easiest thing to eat that wouldn't come up on me, and later it was the usual Saturday night of Rosemary and Thyme, Keeping Up Appearances, As Time Goes By, and French Fields.

Plus the mind-boggling news that the Chicago Cubs are going to the World Series. The underdogs finally win!

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» Friday, October 21, 2016
Seeking Formula to Make Other Cars Vanish

After almost a week of wretched high 80s—we beat the record high on Wednesday, f'Gossakes—it was happiness itself to wake up this morning to find it in the 50s, cloudy, and breezy. I had to wear my jacket to take Tucker out for his walk and it was so nice I doubled the distance we usually walk. In this type of weather I can walk for hours.

I was hoping to make a quick trip to JoAnn this morning, maybe stop at Michael's, and visit the Barnes & Noble at Town Center because they have the best selection of cross-stitch magazines, and then still have some afternoon for crafting. I got most of that done, but getting home early wasn't to be—traffic was absolutely abominable. Just for the heck of it I asked the GPS to take me to JoAnn and instead of a more direct route it took me south before going north and then wanted me to go south again instead of just turning left and going the final few miles. I had a 60 percent off JoAnn coupon and used it on some nice neon pens, plus some pretty sale glass beads and Crayola metallic pencils. From there I went directly to the Barnes & Noble and was rewarded with two lovely British cross-stitch magazines with gift kits, one with a gift calendar. I was tempted by a Georgette Heyer Christmas mystery, but in the end didn't get it.

Since James can't eat at Tin Drum anymore, I've been going on my own. There's no Tin Drum at Kennesaw any longer, so my shortest route would have been to hop the freeway and go south. Today there was some sort of holdup on I-75, so I went back the way I came, which was a bad idea as traffic around and in downtown Marietta was backed up. I could see if it were lunch hour but it was nearly 1:30 at that point. I had to keep avoiding traffic jams and it took me 45 minutes to go 11 miles.

I finally had my lunch about two while reading one of the magazines I bought, then had to sit in a long, long line at Costco waiting to fill up. The lines at the Costco gas station on a work day are absolutely amazing.

Now I should have been able to go home, but I had to go back over to the car place. Yesterday I had taken Twilight over the the Napa Auto Center to get the switches for the automatic windows replaced, my oil changed, and my car inspection done. Well, apparently the emissions inspection machine is supposed to give you a certificate number to make it "legitimate," but it hadn't given me one. So he had to do the emissions inspection again (no charge) to get me that certification number. Thank goodness! The renewals for our license plates will be coming any day now.

Didn't get home until three o'clock and frittered away the rest of the afternoon watching Lassie and updating the appropriate season page on my Lassie website. When James got home we had supper at Ken's, and then went to Publix to pick up some twofers. James found a chocolate orange black tea on the clearance shelf. He can't try it tonight due to the caffeine, but hopes to try it tomorrow morning. If he likes it we will go back to get the rest.

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» Sunday, October 16, 2016
Apples of Our Eye

It wouldn't have been so bad getting up at 6:25 this morning had not I had bad dreams all night (a snake that when crouched up looked like a dog?) and kept waking up being too warm. James said he didn't sleep all that well, either; nevertheless an hour later we were on our way up the freeway back toward Ellijay and the Georgia Apple Festival. It was half cloudy and we got spit on as we mounted the chair on the lift, so we covered it up with the tarp. Annoying that it has gotten warm again. We didn't even need extra clothing with the windows down. Otherwise it was a nice ride, and we listened to a "Splendid Table" with a segment about apples. I loved the guy talking about how he almost gave up on apples because all he'd ever eaten were Red Delicious. Well...they are red, yes. Delicious? No way.

We got there five minutes before opening and were going toward the gate when James discovered his wallet was missing. He was pissed because he just got cash out for the festival and now if he saw something for me he couldn't buy it, and of course he was worried about where it was. I ran back to the truck to look for it, but it wasn't there. He's sure he had it yesterday when we got home.

Anyway, we didn't buy much: got James a new wallet because he has so many cards they always split after a year, got him some pineapple pepper jam, and we got the last of our fudge for the year. The one thing I would have loved to have neither of us could afford: there's a lady there who hand-spins and then hand-weaves clothing from alpaca fleece. She had gloves, scarves, mittens, and these beautiful poncho shawls, not big bulky knits, but beautiful light garments. One almost was in peacock colors, but more muted, but my favorite was in autumn hues: reds and oranges on a beautiful brown. It was also $280.00. I don't begrudge her the money, but I just can't afford something like that. ::sigh::

We looked through all the booths and sampled foods and finally had some lunch: I had Philly cheesesteak without the cheese (I put onions on instead) and James had a burger and some fries (thankfully they were not salty). He sat in his chair and I found the end of a bench, and we ate leisurely and drank our lemonade, and when we looked up—holy moley, the crowds had arrived! So we were leaving just as the crowds came pouring in before lunchtime.

I drove home because since James didn't have his wallet he didn't have his driver's license, and we stopped at Panorama Orchards again on the return trip. Again, we were there before the crowd and were able to use the facilities, pick up another half peck of Granny Smith apples, some pot pie noodles, and some of the goat milk moisturizer (I could finally get near it on this trip—it was so crowded last week I couldn't get to them; they had the soap in my favorite scent, hyacinth, but not the moisturizer so I had to get wildflower instead).

The clouds that had sheltered us from the sun through most of the Lions' Club fairgrounds were gone, so we got sun- and windburned on the way home, but otherwise it was a nice ride with no traffic backups this week. I stopped at Publix for a newspaper and Those Damn Bananas, and looked for an egg ring for James in with the gadgets, but they didn't have one. (They didn't have biscuit cutters, either; what kind of Southern supermarket is this? ☺ ) My cheeks were so red and sore when we got in that I had to keep throwing cold water on them.

We did have a scare when James checked out the bureau and his wallet wasn't there. I even went back downstairs and searched the truck again. I asked "Did you check your desk?" but he didn't hear me. So he was almost starting to call Sam's Club, because it was the last place we saw the wallet, and then he saw it on his desk. But he was confused: "How did it get here?" And then I remembered. "James, what happened this morning? Remember? While you were eating breakfast?" He had the car keys in his pants' pocket and sat the wrong way and hit the panic button on my key fob. To shut it off, he had to pull the wallet out of his pocket before the keys, and he forgot to put it back. Whew.

The two of us both fell asleep when we got home, but we aren't used to all that sun. I read the little book about England I bought at the book sale: a nice combination of geography/sociology/history.

Later we had supper and watched a Rick Steves' episode, two animated Star Trek stories, the first part of The Durrells in Corfu, and finally the season premiere of Alaska: the Last Frontier.

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» Saturday, October 15, 2016
Books and Paints and Other Great Things

Had a nice sleep-in, dog stroll, and breakfast this morning. No use in rushing because James was eventually leaving for his club meeting. Put PBS on for Snowy, and, after James left, I headed back to the book sale and found a few more things, including a couple of rocketry books from the 1950s for James. I'll be interested to read the Madeleine L'Engle story "Poor Little Saturday"; I've heard of it, but never read it.

When I finished there, I spent a happy hour immersing myself in the autumn and Christmas decorations at Hobby Lobby. I found a little pumpkin with Thanksgiving sentiments on it and bought it for my desk at work, plus a few other things that were already on clearance, but used my coupon on a box of opalescent watercolors. Mostly I just reveled in the garlands and the pumpkins; looked at the Christmas things briefly, but not a lot at the individual ornaments. Unless they don't have all their stock in yet, they don't have as many vintage-looking craft items as last year. Pity. They had some pretty stuff in 2015 based on old Victorian "scraps."

From there I went home, made the bed, did a couple of other things, but finally dozed off on the sofa. When I got up about four, James was still not back from his meeting, so I decided to take the matte finish glaze he gave me and treat the items on the Thanksgiving shadowbox. Well, it worked perfectly on the turkey, the pie, the Pilgrim hat, and the little autumn lady. They look more like they belong with the other Country Pick'ns items. But evidently the art pen I used to write "Happy Thanksgiving" on the little signboard—which is labeled as "archival quality"—is liquid soluble and it smeared. Sigh. So I pried it off the shadowbox itself and pried the leaves off and sanded it down and started again. Now, I wasn't really happy about the bonnet and the collar on the autumn lady. The white looked too stark and unnatural and the ink had smeared a little on her, too. So I decided to use eggshell instead of white and opened up that little paint pot and stirred it up. I was about to dip my brush in it when the base of the whole collection of paint just tipped over and fell. Arrrgh! Luckily, while the eggshell paint made a big smear on the fleece cover I have on the seat of the old loveseat-sleeper that I use as a seat, the container actually landed open end up and the smear of paint was all I lost. I made the background color of the Thanksgiving signboard eggshell as well. Once the colors are dry, I will matte finish the two items first and then use the pen.

James finally arrived home. We needed to go to Sam's Club for Skinny Pop and mushrooms, so we tried to find somewhere around there to eat. We thought about Marietta Diner, but their food is expensive, and after last night's debacle, we didn't want another one. We settled on a Chinese buffet called Atlantic Buffet. Not bad. They had steak on the bar as well as pork roast and pork ribs. I didn't have the roast, but James said it was good, but not too salty. The ribs were outstanding. Their desserts are so-so. The lo mein was good, not salty at all. Hibachi Grill is still the best.

Glad we brought James' power chair with us because once again Sam's only had one cart and apparently it wasn't charging. We got the popcorn and the mushrooms and some Asian salad mix, but I was annoyed because the fresh milk was at the bottom where we couldn't get it and the milk on the top level was actually expired.

Came home in time to watch Britcoms. Should have gone to bed earlier, but French Fields is on at 10:00 and we've never seen it before. Those two never fail to make me laugh.

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» Friday, October 14, 2016
Completely Booked for the Day

Every year I say I'm going to be earlier to the Friends of the Library Book Sale. I was up at 7:30 and still didn't leave the house until 8:45. There were already forty or more people ahead of me by the time I got there and they kept coming after I got in line. The doors opened promptly at nine and I was off: checked the T's for any Gladys Taber fiction books (none) and missed a boxed hrdback set of Lord of the Rings by looking at something else. Then I checked the Christmas books—they had two carts full this year, a record—and then went down to the children's books, stumbling over the people with luggage carts, people with 30" suitcases, people with milk crates, people with shopping carts...argh! Happy at the number of kids really excited about getting books, though!

Here's the tally.

After I staggered out with my load and hefted them in the trunk, I drove to Publix. I noticed when I tried to roll down the driver's side window, it caught a little and I had to press the button a couple of times to get it to roll down. But it went up fine and I did my shopping.

When I tried to roll it back down—well, it's completely dead. That whine you hear is my credit card going "Oh, no, not again."

Since the window was stuck in the up position, at least I could manage my last errand, which was dropping a box of stuff off at Goodwill. It's only been sitting in the downstairs hall for six months.

I'd like to tell you I did wonderfully creative things when I got home, but I simply made the bed, had a PopTart and milk for lunch, and read Houseboat Girl, which was a Lois Lenski Regional story that I'd never read. Then I started In Search of Centennial, which is a picture book by one of the men who helped Michener do the research for Centennial, and the last chapter addresses the making of the miniseries as well. It was fascinating to see a little of how Michener worked, his tiny, tightly-lined notebooks, and the color photographs he took of the west in 1937, when he first conceived of writing a western-themed novel.

We had dinner at Golden Corral, which was a bad idea—the weekend buffet is now $15. This wouldn't matter if the food was actually decent, but the "honey sesame chicken" was salty and tasted of fennel, the rotisserie chicken was dry, the grilled steak's grill lines tasted burnt, and the popcorn shrimp was more "popcorn" than shrimp.

On the other hand, we saw the nearly full moon rising up against long ribbons of pale clouds painted with sunset pink and orange. It was absolutely lovely!

Came home to walk the dog and watch television for the rest of the evening. I am taking either James or his walking stick with me on my dog walks in early morning and late evening since what happened Wednesday morning. I had taken Tucker out before work and was just rounding the curve of the upper cul-de-sac when two fairly big dogs came out of nowhere at a determined lope. They didn't stop and greet us or growl or bark; they came straight after Tucker. I shouted at them at the top of my voice to go away, go home, go anywhere, but they kept tag teaming at him and he was frightened out of his wits and started to yelp and squeal. I knew I couldn't run; the dogs would only chase us and maybe knock me down, so I tried to lead Tucker away and he kept tangling up in my legs to get away from the dogs. I started screaming at the top of my lungs and our next-door neighbors Eddie and Miranda came running out of their house and held off the dogs until I could get Tucker into the house! (They didn't try to go after either of them, as far as I could see. It was Tucker they were after.) He had a big swathe of slobber all over his left flank, so they truly did try to grab him, but he wasn't bitten.

These weren't neighborhood dogs. One was white and one was brown and I thought they were some type of bully dog. Eddie saw them clearly and he said they were boxers! Wow! All the boxers I have known are friendly lap puppies. It must be some freaking messed up human who can manage to turn a boxer into an aggressive dog. Wretches.

Anyway, if I go out there alone from now on in the dark, I'm carrying something to hit back!

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» Monday, October 10, 2016
Discovering Other Things to Do

I'm not sure what I had planned today, but I don't think it was updating a web page. But that's what it turned out that I did after sleeping late and taking the dog for a walk (I also washed towels, put up the Kleenex and toilet paper I bought, and tidied up the hall bath). An online friend had posted parts 1, 2, 3 and 7 of "Lassie the Voyager" to YouTube (the GRIT-TV channel apparently didn't show the other three parts), and I ended up watching all of them plus the highly edited compilation film that was made of the story back in the 1970s and using the information gathered from both to update my Lassie episode guide. For some idiot reason, when they syndicated the series, they pulled out all the three-or-more-part stories and made movies out of them, and now those episodes don't show up in the syndication package anymore. This is fine for the three-and-four parters; they turn into respectable 75 and 100 minute movies, respectively, which were transferred to DVD in Great Britain and which I own. But the five-part "Disappearance" and, even worse, the seven-part "Lassie the Voyager" do get considerably hacked. The "movie" of "Lassie the Voyager" shows 14 minutes of part one, six minutes of part two, most but not all of part three, 14 minutes of part four, and then 20 minutes each of parts six and seven, with part five skipped altogether. GRIT did at least show the missing bits from part one and restored the other 16 minutes to part two (which contained an entire subplot about a lighthouse keeper).

Happy to have the updates as my Lassie website is my most popular; I still get about a letter a week about it.

Also happy to have had James come home from the cardiologist feeling satisfied. He had a question he finally asked and got answered to his satisfaction.

For supper we  had tandoori pork chops and saffron rice with half the seasoning removed to cut down on the salt. I don't know what James replaced it with, but he added veggie flakes and it tasted delicious. Later on we watched tonight's The Ghost and Mrs. Muir with William Daniels as the guest star, and Big Bang Theory.

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» Sunday, October 09, 2016
If You Like It, It Goes Away

When I woke this morning, at about a quarter till nine, James was already up. I could smell his breakfast (eggs, onions, and something) and Snowy was singing at the top of his lungs. I guess I slept through the night (almost; I woke up once with my mouth dry and not being able to breathe because my nose was stuffed from all that fresh air and ragweed pollen from yesterday, and again at 6:30 to use the bathroom), and was feeling quite human—unlike the 5:50 a.m. wakeup nightmare on weekdays—as I ate my oatmeal and yogurt.

I needed bread for sandwiches at work this week. I'll sure be glad when that is over. I like Kroger's sandwich buns the best, but they're expensive, and not every Kroger makes them correctly. I've tried other buns, breads, etc. Most are dry, some are doughy, Publix' Chicago rolls are nice, but they get hard if you look at them sideways. Hence I've settled on the Kroger rolls, but even that is dicey: If I go to the Smyrna Kroger, they scatter cornmeal all over the baking pans to keep the bread from sticking and their buns are always embedded with gritty, sandy cornmeal. If I go to Battle Ridge they will more often than not say "Oh, we don't have any." Why is there a bakery, then? Aren't you supposed to keep it supplied with baked goods?

So we went to Dallas Highway. They make wonderful buns, and the only problem is to keep them through next week without them molding (the very last bun from the last batch of Kroger rolls came out of the breadbox this morning looking like it belonged in Alexander Fleming's lab). James picked up ground turkey to make burritos. We got a gallon of distilled water for his C-PAP machine humidifier. And we finally found him an affordable tea infuser so he can drink the loose-leaf tea he bought at the Yellow Daisy Festival.

Once that was put up, we decided to go out to Hiram to the big Michael's there. Silly wasting a 50 percent off coupon on a lesser-supplied store. I was looking for some decorative plastic leaf buttons; I need them for the Country Pickin's shadowbox I am converting to a Thanksgiving-themed one, since they don't make one. The woman at Country Pickin's uses the same leaves; I can see where she clipped the shanks off the buttons on the ones I pried off a plaque that I'm repainting.

Guess what. Yep, Michael's doesn't carry them anymore. They have discontinued them. Grrr. Just like the goat's milk moisturizer. I was able to use my coupon on a set of paint pens.

Not only that, but James let me off at the Target next door so I could pick up a couple of more Litehouse Salad Blends herbs. Guess what...

However, we did see some cute dogs and kittens for adoption at the Petsmart next to Michael's. They had three adorable ginger kittens, one of whom stuck out an imploring paw at me. I hate when they use the paw. The rest of the little dogs for adoption were all chihuahua crosses—do people with chihuahuas just not neuter or spay them?—and one was a dead ringer in size and face for Tucker, except that he had short hair. He wasn't paying attention to any of the people; he was just looking around at "outside" as if all he did was want to explore.

As we drove home, I found the leaf buttons I was looking for at a craft outlet. I ordered a few more miniature fall items and was able to check out through, and we weren't even halfway home yet.

Came home to work more on the shadowbox (re-painting) while James made burritos. Once he had those done, we headed for Longhorn and Jessica Elder's birthday party. We had a great time, even if they did get some of the bills all messed up. I guess you have to put up with that if you have twenty people at dinner. I don't think Juanita's prime rib even saw the grill, though; that was not medium rare.

Dog walking is over and now it's time for Alaska: the Last Frontier. Funny, they say there are two new episodes tonight, but the season premiere isn't until next week? Eh?

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» Saturday, October 08, 2016
Two Characters in Search of Autumn

No sleeping late for us this Saturday! We were off—but you knew that—to Blue Ridge this morning for a model contest they were having at Free Time Hobbies. Blue Ridge is so close to the Tennessee state line you can probably still hear ol' Davy Crockett hunting a bear up in the hills, so it was a lengthy ride—we listened to a "Splendid Table" podcast and most of "A Way With Words" before getting up there. But it was nice because in the wake of Hurricane Matthew battering the coast, it had wiped the sky for miles inland and today's was a gorgeous fall blue, the kind you want to have ball gowns made from, and it was cool enough to have the windows down (but we didn't for most of the ride so we could hear the podcasts).

No more fall color up there, really, than down here, but the underbrush is changing nicely and some trees have golden tops (sometimes simply golden glows) and a few maples are showing red tips.

We were using the GPS today because Free Time recently moved from a big shopping center in downtown Blue Ridge. We needn't have because it's literally right off the southbound side of the road in a little complex that includes "mini-golf and gold panning" and a store called A Taste of Amish. The models were set up in the main aisle of the store and also in a rear area, and a bunch of the guys from the AAA Hobbies model club were there, as well as James' friend Bill Paul from Warner Robins. There were some keen displays, including a Star Wars prequel podracer, a figure of Humphrey Bogart with the Maltese Falcon, and a diorama of a Martian machine crashing into some buildings from the film War of the Worlds (the real one with Gene Barry). James wandered about in his chair while I sat out back in the shade, enjoying the breeze (at one point it got chilly and about three tiny raindrops fell on my tablet, and then the darned sun came out again) and reading an advance reading copy of Doctor Who: The American Adventures. After James looked around inside the marquee tent they had up in the back (someone was selling a collection), we had lunch at the stand someone had set up (hot dogs, burgers, and barbecue). I had a plain burger and James had the plate with cole slaw and baked beans. I had to go run get our hats while we ate, because the clouds finally parted and the sun was making my head ache and my skin itch, but it was a lovely morning.

We checked out A Taste of Amish before we left—I "drove" the power chair down the short road and James followed in the truck rather than go through all that tiresome lift routine. They had Bob's Red Mill grains and packaged noodles, candies and snacks, a few meats, that sort of thing. I got myself a small container of nonpariels, some garlic sesame snacks, and some "soup greens" which are vegetable flakes without the dang dried peas (the only problem with the ones we get from Amazon); James bought some square-shaped "pot pie noodles," garlic-parsley noodles, and some tea.

At this point it was only 1:30, still not all that hot because of the leftover wind from the hurricane, and I wondered if we should actually try to go to the Apple Festival today. It runs this weekend and next, and it could be warmer next weekend. But in fifteen minutes of driving south, when we ended up in Ellijay, the line to get in put a big negative to that notion. We did stop at Panorama Orchards to use the bathroom, and I bought a half-peck of apples and James picked up sugar-free taffy. To my dismay, they had none of the goat's milk moisturizer I've been buying there for the past five years. There were a couple of containers left in gift kits and some body soap, that's all. Pissed. I like that stuff, especially the hyacinth scent I usually get.

So, after inching out of the Panorama parking lot—the place was jammed! and I heard two ladies talking about trying to get to the really big orchard up here, Mercier, only to find it so crowded there was no parking at all—we headed south again, munching on one of the apples. I know this apple is the same "Granny Smith" that sells in the grocery stores, but it sure doesn't taste like it. These are crisp and wonderfully sour, just the way we like them. As we drove, James was mulling about supper: he wanted to use the pot pie noodles. How about, he suggested, that we stop at Publix and get boneless skinless chicken thighs, and he would cook them in low-sodium chicken broth reduction with onions and mushrooms. Yum.

Of course at that point we ran into the mystery traffic jam, which dogged us for miles south on the freeway, and it had gotten so warm we had to put the A/C back on in the truck. Nice way to take the bloom off the rose. We finally got disgusted and got off at Woodstock to run down Bells Ferry Road and directly to downtown Marietta—except traffic was backed up there because Marietta High School was having a Homecoming parade. We skirted that as well and finally got to Publix (I was able to grab the thighs as well as some low-carb low-sodium wraps so James could make breakfast burritos) and finally got home.

The chicken was great, and the noodles just toothy enough, and we had enough left over so that each of us has a lunch.

I took Tucker outside about eight and discovered our neighbors down the street trying to fly kites in the dark with their kids. Evidently they weren't familiar with kites because they were trying to launch against the wind, and when they did get the kites up they did not know to snub them up to keep them flying. But it makes me feel good to see kids outside playing in such nice weather!

Tucker, however, would have preferred it had they not started blasting off fireworks an hour later. He scrambled under my desk and didn't emerge until they'd "stopped shooting at him."

Of course the sun had done a number on us and the long drive on James, so we were both half drowsy for the rest of the night and ended up crawling to bed around eleven

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» Friday, October 07, 2016
Drumming and Stocking and One Rainbow to Boot

Checked off a few things today, including getting eight hours sleep!

After breakfast and dog walking (the weather was wonderful, a bit humid because of the clouds, but no sun and a breeze!), went off to Barnes & Noble with my 20 percent off coupon and picked up Laurien Berenson's The Bark Before Christmas. James has been so sober lately that I wanted to cheer him up, so I picked up Alton Brown's new book for him, too; it was already on discount. [I told him when I gave it to him that I'd trade a smile for a book. And he did smile. He loves Alton Brown.] By then it was time for lunch, and I had a coupon for Tin Drum.

What a mess. There were people in there who had been waiting for a half hour. Apparently the workers came in to find a $300 order waiting, plus there were people who had ordered online and Uber drivers picking up peoples' lunches. I had to wait ten minutes just to put my order in, because the cashier was with the rest of the staff putting the online and the $300 order together. They lost at least a dozen customers because every time someone walked in, the people who were there so long would yell how long they'd been waiting. I actually had my food after twenty minutes of being in the place, and just read Facebook on my phone until and after I got served. Paid using their app and got the discount.

Now for the not-fun stuff: first I had to get gas at Costco and the line was nearly as long as Tin Drum. Apparently there are people who think the hurricane is going to affect our getting gasoline. Because I needed omeprazole, I had to go in, too, and since I was there I might as well stock up on the other stuff we needed: soap, toilet paper, Kleenex (it was on sale), chicken salad, a shirt for James, copies of "Christmas Cottage" and "Cooks Illustrated," and milk, of course. I could actually see my breath in the dairy room! Got a kick out of their Star Wars 15-inch figure playsets (yes, Christmas stuff is already out); you get Rey, Finn, and Kylo Ren. Whatever would I do with that crybaby? Spank him?

(I felt so stupid. Lennox gave us a gift card "rebate" for buying their unit when we replaced the HVAC. I looked the card up online but forgot to note the PIN number, so couldn't use the card at Costco and had to charge all that stuff to my already overloaded credit card. Sigh.)

Stuffed the milk and the chicken salad in the insulated bag because I still had to stop at Publix. Not much there, but they had Mrs. Dash on BOGO and I got James a nice supply. Also got some lamb and Moravian cookies and, of course, a baguette.

James had gone to get his last infusion of "rust" (iron suppliments) at Kaiser and got home not long after I did. I was still stuffed to the gills with lunch, but eventually we went to Ken's for supper. As we drove up, there was a half-rainbow over the new Publix being built. I just had a grilled cheese sandwich and James had an omelet, and then we drove out to Dallas Highway as it is the only Barnes & Noble he can get around without the power chair. I spotted the new "Smoky Mountain Life" and got "Cross Stitch Crazy," with the cutest pattern of a sleeping fox. As we came out, the sky, which had been clear in the west and cloudy in the east from the effects of Hurricane Matthew, was now clouded over and you could see the trees that were starting to turn.

One more stop for James to get gas at Kroger and we were finally home. I had Snowy's cage in front of me while we watched Hawaii Five-0. He was singing little love songs to his water dispenser. :-)

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» Sunday, October 02, 2016
Seasick Without the Water

A less exciting day. We slept eight hours, but it didn't appear to improve anything. We popped a fruit bar each and went to Kroger as quickly as possible, but all the handicapped spaces were taken already. Plus James had two carts misbehave on him; neither was properly charged. But we got through the store, even through the Damn Bananas. :-)

James decided to make homemade "burritos" instead of the salty purchased ones, but he needed eggs. We also thought we would go by the two closest Walmarts and see if they still had calf-length diabetic socks, although from my search online, it seems that the Walmart stores do not stock them anymore. I had the idea to run in, see if they had the socks; if they did I would call James in and he would return the crew length ones and get those instead. But the Walmart near Floyd Road did not have any, and by the time I got in there I was feeling queasy. James saw my face and took me home and we gave up on the sock mission. We'll just order them online.

James went off to Publix to get eggs on his own and I took refuge in the bathroom for a while, then put on some cooler clothes. The queasiness eventually went away and I finished re-reading the unabridged Rilla of Ingleside.

James made his wraps, finishing just in time for me to cook the Enormous Sprouts Chicken Drumsticks for supper. We had those with some chicken Rice-a-Roni. Normally this is rather salty, so before I added the seasoning mix, I got rid of about a third of it. It came out tasting less "chickeny," but definitely much less salty.

Another Sunday evening watching animated Star Trek ("Once Upon a Planet" and "Mudd's Passion") and the original series ("Spectre of the Gun").

It's gotten warm enough again that we've had to close the windows. C'mon, cold front!

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» Saturday, October 01, 2016
Strolling Into October

It was a very quiet end of fiscal year yesterday. I'd finished up an emergency purchase order on Wednesday and I think by the time lunch ticked over on Friday that only one of the other groups had only one contract left. It was beautiful out at lunchtime, breezy and not quite seventy, with a bright blue sky, and I had a wonderful nap before going back in to finish a few things before Bonnie Kennedy's retirement get-together. Robin had given us 59 minutes of admin leave for doing so well this fiscal year, to be taken any time this week, so I spent a half hour at Bonnie's party and then headed home—traffic was already backed up, even at 2:40 p.m.. I arrived home only a minute or two before James got home from Kaiser, having had the second of the three iron infusions they want him to have. Funny, I noticed James has been crunching ice for a year or so now, and the nurse told him that ice crunching is one of the signs of low iron in your system. I wonder why that happens.

Unfortunately, the little pouch where James keeps his insulin and syringe fell out of his pocket at Kaiser, so we had to go back up to Town Center where the security officer would be holding it for him. Since we were already in that area we had supper at Uncle Maddio's across Chastain Road. It was cool enough that we could have eaten out on "Maddio's Paddio," but we didn't.

Next we went off to Publix by way of Barnes & Noble, where we both bought a couple of magazines. There were some good twofers at Publix, including Fiber One brownies, but we passed on the leg quarters because there just isn't enough room in the freezer. I also pounced on the Christmas issue of "Country Sampler" and "Victoria Christmas Bliss," neither which had been in the bookstore. By the time we got home, we only had a couple of hours to relax before needing to go to bed.

Sadly, we didn't make it to bed all that early, and I was a bit punch-drunk this morning after only six hours sleep and that interrupted by James' restless leg (it slides off the side of the bed and starts striking against the wooden bedframe, where it gives an almighty THUMP like a wooden mallet striking a peg, and I'm afraid he's going to hurt it). It was great when we got up, though, 52°F and the sun just rising in pink and orange stripes as we headed east down South Cobb Drive/Delk Road toward Betsy's Hallmark. It was Phase Two of the ornament premiere and James wanted his F-16. He actually bought three, "one to leave as is, one to repaint and decal, and one to give away." I presented him with $12 worth of coupons to help with that, and used the discount ornament card on mine: the "Foxy Couple" ornament, plus another ornament and something else as a couple of gifts. It was only after I'd paid that I noticed something else two for the price of one that I liked, but I did go back and get one for me, and one for a gift. Now I wish I'd gotten more. It was a good product at a great price.

We skipped across the road and discovered the best time to go to Trader Joe's on a Saturday: 8:30 a.m.! We bought more harvest spaghetti sauce and also more quick-cooking barley as we'd liked the first batch. James cooked it in salt-free beef broth and it came out quite nice.

James wanted more diabetic socks, so we drove up Johnson Ferry Road to the Walmart there to get him some. (We stopped for breakfast at IHOP first.) We could not find calf-length diabetic socks like he's been buying for years, so he had to get the crew length. Everyone says "you shouldn't go to Walmart" for various reasons; well, I'd quit going there if they weren't the only ones with stuff we needed! You can't get citrus-scented Renuzit anyplace else. Or Milk Bone Gravy Bones; everyone always just has the Flavor Snacks. (Or musk-scented Mennen Speed Stick, but we weren't buying that on this trip.) The one thing I couldn't find was cheap 11x14 frames, so I just got two 5x7 for the little owl prints I bought at DragonCon.

From Walmart we went back to Michael's with our 40 percent off coupons and got two 11x14 frames for $5.42 each. Dipped into Williams Sonoma for a few minutes, but, of course we can't afford anything in there. James was looking for a tea infuser and they wanted $10 for the cheapest one. They had a lovely autumn leaf platter! I didn't even dare look at the price tag.

Finally we stopped at Sprouts to get more beef bits, giant drumsticks, and some salads for lunch. By the time we got home, it wasn't even one o'clock. We spent a nice afternoon watching PBS, including vintage Antiques Roadshow, and Rick Steves in Turkey, and dozing off (Martha Stewart bores me silly).

For supper we beat our way through Saturday night traffic to O'Charley's with a coupon. What we saved on the meal we used to give the waitress a nice tip! We just has a small unseasoned steak each, with a baked potato and some salad, all delicious, and you can keep your expensive gourmet stuff, thanks very much. After that, we tried going to another Hallmark store to see if they had the item I'd liked so much at Betsy's, but no dice. If I want it, we are going to have to go back there. I did see the Marjolien Bastien autumn ornament that I'd somehow missed this morning: a squirrel on top of a bushel of autumn goodies. Plus I found the item I want to give Juanita as a retirement gift, which I've only been looking for since June. So I guess it worked out in the end.

Sadly, although it's gotten cool again tonight, the temps are starting to rise again starting tomorrow and will be 85 ucky degrees by Monday. For heaven's sake, Summer, take  your toys and go home. Even the smaller trees down here are starting to turn. They're looking forward to a long winter's nap and you out of their hair. Now, git!

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» Sunday, September 25, 2016
Sleepless in Georgia

As one gets older, sleeping problems can result, and James has had this lately in spades. Sometimes he is up an hour or two every night reading. Especially on work nights, this is not conducive to being alert. We have tried all sorts of over-the-counter tricks, including valerian tablets, Sleepytime tea (which has chamomile and valerian in it), and some non-habit-forming drugs from the doctor. Finally in the hospital they prescribed Ambien.

Now, Ambien has a so-so reputation. Some people who take it sleepwalk or do strange things in their sleep. (Heck, I used to sleepwalk as a kid without taking drugs.) It didn't seem to cause James any problems, at least at first. He was finally able to sleep in the hospital (the first week he barely slept at all; at one desperate point I pulled the FAR up on my phone and started reading it to him), but it's been more hit-or-miss at home. Some nights he just gets up once to use the bathroom, a few odd nights he's slept straight through, but most of the time, after Sleepytime Vanilla tea, shutting off his computer an hour before bed, and one Ambien, he's still sleeping a few hours and then waking up.

Or is he? I'm under the impression sometimes he's dreaming that he's awake.

Anyway, I had a screaming sinus headache all last night and was looking forward to some sleep relief at bedtime. No luck..."the ghost" was walking just before three o'clock. He'd gone in the kitchen to make more Sleepytime tea, and then the Ambien kicked back in and he could barely make it to bed and he practically had to take his C-PAP mask harness apart to get it on and kept falling asleep during the steps. Then I couldn't sleep for the next hour, and ended up sleeping until eleven, which put the kosh on going to Kroger early.

Because...sigh...we still have to go to Kroger. The milk is cheaper there and I like Kroger's buns better for my work lunches than Publix's and the least expensive ham at Kroger has the least amount of sodium. We got the milk home, grabbed the CVS coupon we'd forgotten, and were off again. James needed Breathe Rights, so I ran in and got him a box, plus some sugarless hard candy, and got 30 percent off it all.

There was no need to go to Barnes & Noble again, but we didn't want to sit around all afternoon, so we went to Akers Mill for about an hour. I bought the rest of the 50th anniversary Star Trek novel trilogy about Number One, and lucked out at the clearance tables: they had a bunch of cute toys half off, and of course there was still the additional 20 percent off. I got four nice toys to donate to Toys for Tots in December at a reasonable price and found a nice gift for Emma and one for Alice at the same time.

Finally home and could take a nap after watching a lovely special about Jim Henson, who would have been 80 this weekend. We both needed tissues at the end. At some point I took my temperature and appear to be running a low-grade fever. Well, that would explain how rotten I've felt today, too.

We had some of the harvest sauce tonight with chicken tortelloni; yum! Plus we each got a lunch out of it, and there were six tortelloni left over for a quick snack. We had some apple pie for dessert. For some reason, America's Funniest Home Videos wasn't on, so we watched two episodes of the animated Star Trek and then the Trek story "Assignment: Earth," one of my favorites, a back door pilot in which several elements were reused for The Questor Tapes. I would have liked to have seen adventures of Gary Seven and Roberta Lincoln.

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» Saturday, September 24, 2016
Food and Friends Once More

We were both up early this morning. James' boss had told him that if he wanted to make up some of the time he lost this week for doctors' appointments, he could work four hours some time today. Unfortunately he hasn't teleworked in four months and had forgotten the VPN password. He did do his time card. So as we were up so early, we did some cleaning out: we packed up three grocery bags of items James can't eat anymore to give to Alice tonight for her church's food pantry. We had built up a bunch of snacks on one corner of the dining room table that we never ate at DragonCon, so I put some up, put a couple of things in Alice's bags, and packed up the Jif-to-Go containers in one of the two shoeboxes that held James' packets of no-salt seasoning. I took the others and, arranging them in rows, fit them into one box, with room to spare. Yesterday, I had bought BOGO the little Weight Watchers cakes for desserts, but we had no room to store the boxes, so I lined them up neatly in one corner of the table. I also threw out some empty boxes downstairs.

Eventually we went to Trader Joe's. For once we were not going there for chicken apple sausage. Instead, knowing all the "pumpkin everything" would be out by now, we were hunting the harvest sauce which they had last year only in the fall up to Thanksgiving. This is a tomato sauce that also has carrots and butternut squash in it. We bought only one bottle last year, to try it, and by the time we got back there, it was Christmas stuff and it was all gone. Today I bought six and I will go back for more next month so we will have some for all year.

Trader Joe's was truly as "pumpkin everything" as last year, and more. Pumpkin candies, pumpkin chips, pumpkin drinks, pumpkin crackers...ravioli, soups, coffees, teas, cookies, you name it. We also picked up some nuts, juices, and even two Kind bars for a snack, as we were headed for Michael's to spend the special half-off coupon for today. James got metallic colored pencils and I got more charcoal pencils, these with sepia and red ochre. This is the Michael's that took over the old East Cobb Borders Books. Still miss Borders...

After that we headed home. It was blazingly hot and is to continue hot at least through tomorrow. James hoped it wouldn't be so bad so he could go to the Fly-In at Peachtree-DeKalb Airport this weekend, but there was no way either of us could function in that sun and heat. Instead we came home to chill out (literally). I found the Canadian Swiss Family Robinson series online and lost such track of time that it was 4:30 before I knew it. I had to rush to buy and print out an Amazon certificate for Aubrey Spivey, who turns 23 today. I had her gift ready (a pendant), but this was an extra gift "from Tucker and Snowy" for helping out when James was in the hospital. She stopped by almost every day to take Tucker for a quick walk and say hello to Snowy.

Aubrey's birthday dinner was at Keegan's Irish Pub. We took over a back room and had a great time. Juanita and David are all excited about their upcoming trip to New England, which will include a balloon ride over Maine! Aubrey likes to bake, and got some nifty baking gifts—the pendant we got her was a little cupcake with colored stones in the "frosting."

On the way home we stopped at the Publix across from Sprouts and did find the low-carb low-sodium wraps. And I got those damn bananas and we picked up a couple of clearance items.

Came home late enough only to watch As Time Goes By and Are You Being Served? and didn't go to bed very late. Expected a good night's sleep, but...sigh...

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