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, January 25, 2015
From Blah to Bonny

To me, when I don't have my Friday off, the weekend starts on Friday night, and frankly this weekend had a rotten start. It was one of those cold, damp, drizzly, grey days where people say ferverently "At least it isn't snow!" without realizing that if it was snow it would at least feel warmer! This type of cold just creeps down your neck (even with a scarf) and gets into your bones. It was so chilly out that I was able to work all day in long sleeves, which I usually can't do because it's always 80°F in my office. It was a perfect night to hibernate, so that's what we did: James picked up dinner at Dragon 168 on his way home and we sat in front of the 21st century hearth, the HDTV, and had hot wonton soup. It felt lovely. He had a sa-cha beef combo (spicy) and I had the usual pork fried rice (yes, Ivan, the good kind without peas and carrots). It was so cozy we almost ended up going to bed early, but finally hit the hay about midnight.

Saturday the clouds parted in time for the morning dog-walk; as the remainder of the clouds drifted away the blue sky was revealed. If you looked up "blue" in the dictionary, this blue would have been there. We took our time eating breakfast, which was good because we were on the run for the rest of the day.

It was off to Walmart first for wild bird food. I'm not going to do much backyard bird counting if I don't get some seed in the feeders. Walmart is already full of bathing suits and warm-weather clothing that fills me with dread, and the main food aisle is crowded with items for Valentine's Day baking. Got the seed, plus some odd groceries like sugar-free candy and my yogurt. Then we needed dog food, and we had a 20 percent off coupon from Petco. The closest Petco was all the way at Akers Mill shopping center, but it was cold enough to just toss the yogurt in the back of the truck and go on.

Well, since we were going to Akers Mill anyway, might as well stop at Barnes & Noble. (I am unrepentant.) Hurrah! Winter issues of "Landlove" and "Landscape" in! I found an alternate history book for James, too: V-S Day, about a World War II where the Nazis and the Americans develop space platforms. By then we were a bit peckish, but we got the Petco trip over first: two bags of dog food, a new antler for serious canine gnawing, and some puree to liven up Tucker's meals (hey, if you've got a 20 percent off coupon, you stock up).

For lunch we went to "Grub," which is a custom burger place. James got a traditional burger with some great onion rings, but I got a "Moroccan," a big lamb burger with a mint Greek yogurt sauce on grilled flatbread, with some taboulleh on the side. The burger was delicious and juicy and filling, but the place is much too expensive to go to all the time. We could have gone to Longhorn and had a lunch sirloin for what the burgers cost us! Plus the music is Too Loud. Don't they expect people who go there to want to talk? If you don't mind the price or the noise, it's got some good food.

(Not to mention I tasted the lemon juice and the cucumber in the tabbouleh till late in the evening, but then that wasn't Grub's fault.)

Our final stop was Publix, to pick up some twofers and a few other things, and our grocery shopping was done for the weekend, unless we forgot something. We needed to get it all home and put away, then eat something before we were on our way for the evening, which we spent at UUMAN, the Unitarian Universalist Metro Atlanta North, which has their "Common Grounds" coffee house once a month. Our friend Louis Robinson was performing, plus they were doing a salute to the 1960s. We had a good time, although James wished more of the songs had been cheerful! Still, we heard "Sunny" and "Daydream Believer" and "What You Do to Me," with selections from the Beatles, the Lovin' Spoonful, the Monkees, Jimi Hendrix, etc. Louis sang "Those Were the Days," which I remember singing along with my parents. I didn't realize it was originally written in the 1920s and was a Russian song. But come to think of it, it sounds Russian.

It was a long dark ride home from Roswell and a long day, which explains why we were on our way to bed by midnight. I was too tired to even sign on to chat, and we had to be up at 8:30.

Today we went to the Atlanta Exposition Center South for the annual RV show. We left early enough to get breakfast at Burger King, but James wanted to try this new QT kitchen thing he saw on TV. Unfortunately the QT we stopped at didn't have it. I looked for a chicken or tuna salad sandwich on white or wheat (everything else had cheese on it), but the only chicken salad was in a wrap. A green wrap. The green wasn't so bad, and neither was the chicken salad, but it was more lettuce than anything else and came up on me all afternoon.

We know we can't afford anything at the RV show, and we'd have to buy a bigger truck to be able to pull anything worth fitting into anyway (and with the power chair, we'd have to get a "toy hauler" so it would have a ramp), but it's fun to look in the different things, especially the big buslike motor homes, which we refer to as "Disneyland." One was $622,000 with a wood interior and leather seating and fancy lighting. Amazing! We saw the cutest little retro trailer that looked like it came out of the 1950s, and finally one of the larger teardrop trailers; usually they only bring the small ones. Also saw a couple of the A-frame ones with screen popouts; it makes them less claustrophobic. There were some vendors there selling campsites, of course, and a line of vendors selling "gadgets." For Valentine's Day, James bought us both a cute little gadget about the size of a small flashlight which charges your phone, plus doubles as a speaker, plus is large enough to use as a phone stand.

When they all started looking alike, we quit and came home after a brief stop at Kroger for gasoline and something we forgot (of course).

James made the lamb shank we picked up at Publix last night for supper with mushroom rice (it goes with everything). Yummy and enough left for a sandwich for lunch tomorrow. Next, AFV and Alaska: the Last Frontier.

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Flourish

» Sunday, January 18, 2015
Oh, Crumbs!

Was up rather late last night chatting with Mike and Emma, so this morning naturally slept in. I'd like to say it was eight hours of refreshing sleep, but I had one of those annoying dreams again, one in which something wasn't completed—or rather kept indicating it wasn't completed although it was—during the small hours of the morning. I hate these dreams; they're as annoying as mosquitoes and keep me tossing and turning. So while James got up at 9:30 or so, I was in bed until almost eleven, and then had to do the usual Sunday chores: sorting my pills for the week, getting ready for work, putting last week's knockaround clothes and the towels in the hamper, that sort of thing.

After finishing breakfast (and my finishing the Daisy Dalrymple mystery Sheer Folly), we decided to go to Ollie's Attic. We had been there in November and the place was packed because it had just opened, so we looked forward to having time to look around. James didn't even bring the chair because we remembered the aisles being narrow and cluttered. Good thing we didn't. Halfway through our cruise of the store we both needed to use the restroom—guess what! It was out of order! Pffft! So once again neither of us has reached the back corner of the store. I bought a couple of cheap books, a Benji collection on DVD, Mad Monster Party for only $3, and another DVD as a gift. We also got a toy for Tucker (he had the squeakers out of it in a half hour flat), a tarp to cover the chair, and a few other little things.

Because we were both hungry and needed to use the bathroom, we crossed over Mableton Highway to eat at Krystal, where I had three plain pups. (I guess it doesn't say much about the taste of Krystal's food, but I like their "pups"—little hot dogs—because they're so bland I don't get indigestion from them.) We were going to check out a used bookstore nearby, but it's closed on Sunday.

So we just went back up on Floyd Road and finished our shopping for the week at Kroger. Floyd Road near the Mable House is like grocery road: there's a Kroger and a Publix next to each other, and then an Aldi catty-corner from the Publix, and a Food Depot a little further on. Plus there's a Walgreen's and I think a CVS. Talk about one-stop shop!

Came home in time to start dinner (drumsticks were on sale at Kroger), walk Tucker, start a new book (Ruth Goodman's How to Be a Victorian, which I am eye-gobbling in great gulps), watch the $100,000 final on America's Funniest Home Videos, and finally...the two episode finale (we hope season finale and not series finale) of The Librarians. The Tesla-village was an interesting idea but I'm not sure the execution was all that good. Did like Ezekiel channeling Eve, though. And then the finale: what happens when Dulaque cuts the Loom of Time? Why isn't Flynn a Librarian suddenly? And just who is Jenkins...and Dulaque, for that matter? (Yes, "the internets" were correct on that matter. LOL.) I read somewhere that John Larroquette is kind of a PITA to work with; not sure whether that's true or not. But I wish the concluding scene between Jenkins and Dulaque had gone on a little longer, with a little more suspense in it. I like Larroquette as a performer and I wanted that for him.

(Has anyone done a fanfiction of Flynn or the other Librarians meeting Rupert Giles? ☺)

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Flourish

» Saturday, January 17, 2015
You and Me and the Chair Makes Three

Said James yesterday, "We could go to the Farmer's Market...or we could sleep late." And so we chose somnolence, happy, happy pillow hugging, contentment curled under a comforter. This was followed by a dog walk and then oatmeal and yogurt and milk for happy tummy results.

I couldn't get over the cirrus clouds this morning! They were very contrasty against the blue, blue sky, and instead of looking like the usual mare's tails, they had the appearance, especially when I took Tucker for his walk, of "frost flowers" on a winter window. I still remember these from when I was a kid and we still had radiators: the window the radiator was under would be moist, but the other window in the room would have frost tracery on them. (Baseboard heat soon put a stop to that.)

Then we left Snowy watching American Restoration and drove up to Woodstock to go to BJs. I needed Chex Mix and we could pick up toilet paper and mushrooms while we were there. We took the truck and towed the power chair with us, so that James could get more steering experience, although it's nothing to get around BJs—the aisles are wide. Naturally, once we got there, there were more things calling: a big box of Chips Ahoy to take to Atomicon, SkinnyPop, pineapple cups, some flatbread sandwiches for James. And because we shopped before we got gasoline, we got an extra five cents off on the already low price of 1.899.

We stopped for lunch at the IHOP across the street. I just had a grilled cheese sandwich because I'd been craving one, and some onion rings. Sadly, no one's onion rings are as good as Mel's Diner, but the commute to Pigeon Forge is a bit much. :-)

On the way home we stopped at Barnes & Noble with the coupons they sent for this weekend. Had we not looked around the store, we probably could have left after five minutes: I found the new Molly Murphy mystery almost as soon as I walked in the door and James the new John Ringo book directly afterwards. But I did check out the clearance and the magazines. Not much going in the mags after Christmas, and they don't have the winter "Landlove" or "Landscape" yet. Wonder of B&N is going to quit getting them like they did "Best of British." :-(

Finally we stopped at the Chicken Salad Chick to get James a new supply and came home to finish the chicken wings.

I had gotten Nativity! from Netflix and put it on. It's pretty cute. Paul is a primary-school teacher in a small Catholic school which is always on the tag end of everything. His girlfriend left him five years earlier to make a career in Hollywood, on Christmas Eve nonetheless, and now he's unhappy about Christmas; plus to that that his best friend is now a well-known professor at a prestigious private school. Paul is put in charge of the school's annual nativity play, but the last time he did it his former buddy got all the glory and his production got a razz. (Apparently the schools compete in putting on Christmas pageants.) To add insult to injury, the principal of the school assigns her bumbling nephew to him as his classroom assistant; the guy is almost as much of child as the kids. It's all about a fib he tells that gets blown out of proportion and how his nativity pageant works out. "Mr. Poppy," the idiot nephew, is one of those irritating man-child characters who gets Paul into even more hot water, but the kids are adorable and somehow it all works out in the end with a big musical pageant.

Later I saw out Christmas with "Silly, But It's Fun..." (The Good Life) and "Merry Gentlemen" (All Creatures Great and Small).

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Flourish

Detinseled

Well, it couldn't wait any longer. Today had to be devoted to putting the remainder of Christmas away. I would have preferred to have been outside a little more, since it was a cold, crisp, and bright blue day, and a hike around the neighborhood just didn't do it.

And so it happened after breakfast and "walkies." I'd gotten to the point where all I had left to do was the living room (which of course included the tree); I had taken down all the kitchen and dining room decor yesterday during lunch and then after I finished work, but now I was down to the last. I put the village buildings carefully back into their container, buffering between them with bubble wrap, and put the trees in one bag and the people and the accessories in another, with the lights tucked in one corner. Finally, at noon, I started the tree. I stripped all the tinsel off the front and then put the ornaments up, the glass in their boxes and the plastic in their bags; once I had the front cleared I did the same to the back. Once the tree was cleared, I took it apart and it all just lay piled up in front of the fireplace, to Tucker's consternation.

While I worked I listened to a couple of Christmas CDs I hadn't gotten to, like my Leroy Anderson album and the album of Alfred Burt carols, and also to the BBC: the audio version of As Time Goes By and more of Amanda Vickery's A History of Private Life. I could kick myself for missing the first part of ATGB, as they did a flashback scene with young Lionel and young Jean, which didn't happen in the television series.

Finally I removed all the tins and other decorations, like the memory jars and the snow garland and "Bandit's angels," from the room divider and put whatever small decorations inside the tins to concatenate it all, and put those in the half-filled porch box that also holds the Santa and Rudolph that go in the foyer and the stuffed Rudolph and Max the dog who sit on the hearth, because there was no room at the inn...cough...in the stuffed animal box for them.

I noticed at the last minute that I hadn't taken the garland down from around the hall door or the deck door, or the mistletoe, so I did that as well, and then it really was all finished and I could relax for a bit before James got home.

We had supper at Ken's—some wonderful pork chops—and then went to Publix to check out the twofers. Picked up Smart Balance, crackers, Knorr sides, and a few other groceries (including yellow bananas, since Kroger has been doing the green banana thing again). From there we came home, and, with James to help with the lifting, in 45 minutes we had all the containers back in the closet. The box said the tree would fit back in it; yeah, only if I had a compression device on site! The three sections of the tree are piled in the corner where the old one used to stand, along with the library tree and the space tree, and all covered with the red plastic cover we put on the old tree.

Everything looks so naked, which means I need to put up the winter decorations. :-)

Finished up the night with Doctor Who (although I had to run auto program again on the channels, since RetroTV was moved from 32-9 to 32-7 without so much as a by-your-leave) and Hawaii Five-O.

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Flourish

» Sunday, January 11, 2015
Sleepytime Down South

Boy, did we sleep in this morning, and it was delightful. Soft warm pillows, firm cozy bed, enveloping blankets...oh, yeah. So the first meme that popped up on Facebook this morning was "Remember when you were a kid and hated naps, and now all you want to do is sleep?" Yeah, verily.

We decided not to go to the smaller RV show. They never have all the cool gadgets and a limited amount of vehicles. We'll cross fingers that we make the larger one coming up, which does have all the gadgets and an abundance of vehicles. Not that we can afford any, but window shopping is fun.

Instead we took a coupon to CVS, since we needed BreatheRights, and managed to find a double Sunday paper to boot (scarce as hen's teeth at CVS). So, yay, check QT off our list. We also went to Michael's, where I picked up a couple of clearance items and some florist's foam for the winter bouquet I was working on.

That was it. Had a good remainder of the afternoon reading the paper and reading magazines, and eating that wonderful Italian wedding soup for supper.

The Librarians is getting better and better. I really enjoyed "The Rule of Three" and am wondering what is up between Morgan Le Fay and Jenkins. It's already been hinted that Jenkins has "a past." I wish Noah Wyle was on more often. The haunted house episode started out a little more pedestrian, but I liked the twist, although I had been suspicious of it from the start.

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» Saturday, January 10, 2015
Linda and James and the Busy, Busy Day

Well, my feet were warm when we woke up, thanks to the heated throw. Which was just fine, because it was really chilly outside. Unfortunately, we had to get up because we were planning to hit the Farmer's Market this morning. It was so cold I even wondered if it was going to be held.

But, yes, there they were tucked up into Mill Street. Some folks had portable kerosene heaters in their pop-up tents, trying to keep warm. Others just chafed their hands and walked back and forth a lot. We didn't stay long, either, just long enough to get a couple of scones and Tucker's dog biscuits, and then headed off to Hair Day.

We arrived to find out the bad news: our hostess had lost her job. After 28 years of working at a large, prominent national company, she has been laid off in favor of...oh, guess what...contract employees. I remember when my dad retired. He worked in a factory, a factory belonging to a nationally known company, but only a factory nonetheless. They gave him a retirement dinner and a Gorham silver plate and made speeches about how they would miss him. But that was 1972. Today, she...she puts 28 years of service in—including horrendous amounts of overtime—and gets kicked out. Why aren't employees faithful to their companies anymore? Why should they be?

Sorry, buddies. Even if I liked your products, I wouldn't buy them anymore ever again.

We had a good lunch, though, but James missed his club meeting. We were frankly having such a busy time eating baked ziti and salad and garlic bread that neither of us noticed the time.

Instead we came home after it was all done with and got ready for game night at Alice and Ken's tonight, played with Tucker and listened to Snowy sing. The only irritation was that I found out the new sequence of This Old House episodes was starting tonight when I scrolled through the program guide. I tried to record the first one by pressing the record button...and nothing happened. It said instead that I had "skipped" the recording. Damn well I hadn't! I recorded the second episode and the first one appears to be showing on the other Atlanta PBS station next week...but, frustrating.

Game night was a blast. James brought the meatballs left over from the party and Alice made chicken and rice, and we had snacks and things, and we played Scattergories and then Apples to Apples, and finally, for late evening giggles, Cards Against Humanity. We got home so tired we went to bed before midnight, which is unheard of on a Saturday night unless we're sick.

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» Friday, January 09, 2015
Girls Just Want to Have Fun
So, I had an extra day off thanks to President Obama, which was fortuitous as I needed to be taking down Christmas decorations. But I desperately wanted to sleep late; I really hadn't done that during the two weeks I was off. (I "slept late" as in I did so after eight, but since I wasn't falling asleep until after midnight with one thing or the other, I still only got eight hours sleep.) So today I tried to sleep nine hours, but the last hour was just dozing. Maybe some other time. ::sigh::

Now it was time to walk the dog and eat breakfast, and then get to divesting. But I was itching to hit a few more Barnes & Noble clearance tables, as I found such nice stuff on them last year. So I threw practicality to the wind and drove out to Peachtree Corners, and since it was right across the street, I had to stop at Sprouts...

Oh, I lucked out! Friday's soup of the day was Italian wedding, and their Italian wedding soup will make angels sing. But they also had chicken and dumpling soup which smelled divine. So I bought both. And some inka nuts, of course.

I didn't have much luck at the Peachtree Corners store. No "Best of British" (this was the last place I saw it), no new "Landlove" or "Landscape" yet. I did get a half-priced copy of the card game "Holiday Fluxx" and also the Entertainment book for half price. This year's ends on December 30. Perhaps they are doing them on calendar year schedules from now on?

However, I got a nice tidy pile of books at the Perimeter Mall store, and one for me, about hidden history facts. Grumbled all the way home: it was only 2 p.m. and Friday traffic was already backed up! By the time I got home, I did have the opportunity to take down the library tree and its table and gather up certain other things. I didn't make the woodland or the airplane tree, though.

James got in late, and though we were both hungry, we went to Kroger and did the shopping, and picked up a contribution for Hair Day tomorrow. Once we were home, we had the chicken and dumpling soup for supper—I liked it, but the Italian wedding is still better—and watched two Elementary episodes off the DVR, plus tonight's Hawaii Five-O. We were wondering where Danny was, and it seems it must be because of the last two episodes we missed! Grr.

We had a funny before bed. Kroger has been having a big clearance sale, mostly leftover Christmas food mixes, but also some other things. Last week I picked up a set of men's fleece pajama bottoms for James, and tonight we found another pair his size, and also one for me. I put all the groceries away when we got home, but had left the shopping bag with the two fleece bottoms, all rolled up and held with an elastic band, on the kitchen floor. When I went to get them at bedtime, James' pants were gone. Now I knew they'd come home. Where...? No, it couldn't be...

Yes, in Tucker's box. Unmolested, but resting in the back like he was going to use it as a bolster!

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» Sunday, January 04, 2015
Partyland

The party's over...

Our post-new year's actions are divided into two parts, before party and after party. "Before party" consists of cleaning, so that's what I did on Friday. The hall bath was scrubbed and the floor washed, the master bath floor was washed, the preliminary vacuuming happened, and a lot of other dull cleanup downstairs in case the young'uns wanted to go downstairs and play a game. I washed and dried the chair covers and the master bathroom mats. I listened to the BBC and played Christmas music as I worked. I did go out to Publix to get some soup for supper. $65 later, because there were so many good twofers, I got home with a load of groceries to put away.

So we had the soup, good thick chicken noodle with carrots and onions, and James commenced to cleaning the kitchen, while I polished the coffee table and did other pickup.

Saturday we then had little to do but go to Costco shopping for the goodies (although the "little to do" lasted all afternoon). Unfortunately they no longer sell the big box of mini-egg rolls nor did they have the delicious beef puffs we had last year. We got chicken wings, chicken pineapple teriyaki meatballs, a box of spring rolls, and a box of teeny potstickers, plus some chicken-and-nacho-cheese triangles and Tostitos for dipping. We already had potato chips. On the way home we bought some salsa and nacho cheese  (bagged a couple of steaks for supper later in the week, too, and enough yogurt for this week and next), and at home we had olives, chocolate chip cookies, Hershey's kisses, M&Ms, and cheese and crackers. James made maple bacon dip.

Tucker did not like my moving the table at all!  We put it closer to the china cabinet and set it up as a cold buffet; the cooked stuff is in the kitchen with the drinks. The chairs we just scatter around, but because they weren't under the table anymore, he couldn't creep into his "cave." I gave the downstairs bathroom floor a quick mop; otherwise it was spick and span down there. Swept the foyer and shook out the rug, then vacuumed the stairs thoroughly. Finally I could do the final vacuum upstairs and then take the final few things off the coffee table. I set "Christmas tree" and "gingerbread" candles burning so the house would smell festive when people arrived. James started cooking everything about four, and I took Tucker out in an annoying drizzle about 4:30, and by the time the first guests arrived at five, the food was ready.

We had a smaller crowd than expected, sadly. Two couples were not feeling well. But Juanita, David, and Jessie flabbergasted us, but made us feel happy, by driving down from Red Top Mountain where they have been camping with the Lawsons since New Year's Eve. Juanita wanted to come because she was still in the hospital last year at this time and in a week has to go in for surgery to correct the "fix" on her shattered heel.

We were worried about Tucker's first party, but we needn't have. He got overexcited twice and started to "lead with his teeth," but I told everyone if he started that, to stop playing with him and not put up with that type of behavior. He mainly just tried to mooch food (he only got a few dropped items) or sit in people's laps, starting out by charming Neil (or maybe Neil charmed him, because animals seem to naturally gravitate to Neil—he went to take a photo of Snowy and Snowy was still chirping and chattering as he did; usually he shuts up for anyone else) and just making conquests as the night went on. He didn't bark at anyone the way Willow used to, but then she was very shy and it made her defensive until she determined people weren't a threat.

James said the nacho cheese triangles weren't very good, and I wasn't happy with the honey barbecue wings at all. They had Perdue this year instead of Tyson and they were dry-looking and not as flavorful. Still, everyone ate and had a good time, and we watched the tail end of one football game (with the sound off) and the beginning of another. Juanita and David left early to go back to Red Top, just as the heavy rain was starting, but we got a message from them that they had gotten back safely and that the Lawsons had secured their trailer before the storm hit.

Folks headed out about ten, and we put away the food—we have enough goodies to take over to Alice and Ken's next Saturday for a game night. Alice is going to make more chicken and rice in the pressure cooker like she did for Bill and Caran's party—and tossed the trash. Part of the dishes went into the dishwasher; the rest got rinsed in the sink, and we gratefully retreated to bed.

Somewhere in the middle of the night it really started to pour, and about midway through we had thunder. At least the weather radio didn't go off, but both us got rotten sleep and James had to go off to work this morning. I tried to sleep late, but it was too warm (it was in the low 60s outside) and I didn't care to go back to the dream I'd been having. I promised myself I could have a nap during the day, but it never happened.

Got a break in the rain to walk the dog, then had breakfast, then went to Kroger to get bread for my work lunches and a newspaper. I went to the Battle Ridge store because the baker at Smyrna can't make decent sandwich rolls for beans; the last batch were like sandpaper. I also bought turkey thighs and a small jar of gravy for supper so James wouldn't have to cook anything. After bringing that home, I decided I would go on a short errand and see if I felt well enough to go on a longer one.

We had two Bed, Bath & Beyond coupons expiring today, and we badly need a new space heater for inside the master bath. The previous burned out last month, and since the temp is supposed to go down to 16 on Thursday, it was time. I got a nice little one, plus two potential gifts and a storage container (I put all our card games into it). I also stopped at Barnes & Noble to check out the clearance tables. Found two swell gifts and also a cool book that will also serve as a gift.

I decided I felt well enough to drive up to Books-a-Million, so I did. Disappointed by their "sale" though, but did find two games, plus a book I picked up "just because": Inside Charlie's Chocolate Factory, about the writing of the book and the media followups (did you know there was a Charlie opera?). I was starving by then (it was 2:30) so I had a bowl of chicken soup at Panera, then briefly stopped at Michael's to buy a couple of crafty things and some Christmas clearance.

Before I went home I stopped at Kroger to fill up my gas tank. I did a fill up for under $25! I don't think I've done that for years! Sadly, coming home on Windy Hill Road, I had to slow down to get past an accident. It looks like a car had to stop short to keep from hitting a dog, but the dog was at the side of the road covered up with a blanket. No way to tell if it were alive or not. The person in the car needed an ambulance.

Put everything up when I got home, got things ready for work, then vacuumed up all the crumbs, put the table and chairs back where they belonged (Tucker immediately disappeared into the "cave"), put things back on the coffee table, and generally tidied up, at which point it was time to start cooking the turkey. It was only then I could sit down and read the paper. Four packets of coupons! I hope there's something decent in them! I'm tired of finding coupons for processed foods and overly-salted stuff.

By the time we ate, it was time for The Librarians (very imaginative show tonight about fairy tales invading a town named Bremen—yeah, I got the joke) and then Alaska: The Last Frontier.

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Flourish

» Thursday, January 01, 2015
Welcome to 2015
Slept late! But then we did go to bed at two. I remember the days we'd come home from Bill and Caran's party and I'd get on chat and we'd see the New Year in in California with Jess and the others at 3 a.m. But we were all a lot younger then. :-)

I did a little cleaning today, but otherwise not a blessed thing but watching the Tournament of Roses Parade (too bad Louis Zamperini didn't live to participate as Grand Marshall; the white horse with the reversed boots was quite touching), then some of the hockey game (really no fun this year because it was bright sun and not snowing), and then watched a couple of things on the DVR. Really irritated to discover that the American Masters Bing Crosby special I recorded is actually a special about Peter, Paul & Mary. I don't mind having that because I wanted to see it, but I was really looking forward to that Bing Crosby special! Also finished Santa and Pete and Christmas in the Big House, Christmas in the Quarters.

At supper (the usual New Year's ham with potatoes; James had some black eyed peas and rice as well) we watched Rudolph's Shiny New Year, and then our traditional New Year's movie, Galaxy Quest. We've watched this on New Year's Day or near the new year for the past fourteen years, since we saw it on New Year's Day 2000 with the gang. In fact, Galaxy Quest was the reason we got our first DVD player, because we wanted the extras!

Finally we watched the new HGTV Dream Home: it's on Martha's Vineyard! Oh, my stars and whiskers, think of the property taxes! Loved all the views, and the house is pretty cool (all Ethan Allen furniture ::swoon::), but the striped pink bedroom (ugh!) and the awful modern art on the walls would have to go. Why have a beach house and then not have beautiful seascapes on the wall? You could even have autumn-themed seascapes. Anything but icky blobs of color. As always, they talked about opening the doors in good weather and using the patio to extend the great room, and there are never any screens. Are there no bugs anywhere they build these houses? Sheesh, even at the seashore there are flies. There could be sand fleas or blackflies, and that close to a marsh, mosquitoes. Did like the idea of the SUV: big enough to take on the ferry and then drive to the nearest Costco/BJs/Sam's to stock up on supplies.

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http://www.techicy.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/12/happy-new-year-2015-quotes.jpg

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» Wednesday, December 31, 2014
And So It Ends as It Began
So, James got home early both days this week. You'd figure he'd be home even earlier New Year's Eve, right?

Nope. He worked all day, which is good for our pocketbooks, but I'm sure he could have used a nap before the party.

Me, I walked the dog, scrubbed the master bath, made the bed, tidied up more, finished re-reading The House Without a Christmas Tree, and finally settled down to listen to Christmas music and read The Cottage Holiday. I also had the BBC's production of Master and Commander on in the background. About three I started watching The Nine Tailors, because the mystery proper starts on New Year's Eve when the church in the village of Fenchurch St. Paul is going for a marathon bell ring. (British Anglican churches do a complex mathematical thing called "change ringing"; I don't understand it, but I do remember the names of all the bells in the ring in this story: John, Jericho, Jubilee, Gaude, Dimity, Saboath, Batty Thomas, and Tailor Paul.)

I ran out to Kroger at one point; we were going to bring chips and dip to Bill's party, but they said they already had that. I got some cheese and some summer sausage instead, and sliced it up, and bought some crackers to go with the cheese ball we bought at the Chicken Salad Chick. I bought some potato soup as well, since we wouldn't eat until after nine; when James came home, I warmed it up with extra bacon bits and chives in it, and a little butter, and to James I added about a handful of chopped-up summer sausage I held back.

We left about eight fifteen, which should have put us at Bill and Caran's house at nine, but there was a whopper of a car accident on I-285 eastbound—five lanes blocked! We left the detour to the GPS, and we still can't figure out why it didn't take us all the way through on Chamblee-Tucker Road, since we crossed it at least three times. We were so close to work I could have spit and hit it. Eventually we ended up on the route we usually take home, through LaVista and Brockett. (Everyone else had to do the same thing. Several people were delayed by the traffic jam.)

Nice party, not as much of a crowd as other years, but still fun. Sat around and talked to Alice and Ken and whomever wandered into the hardback library (the paperback library is in a different room). Stepped into the dining room occasionally to get a bit of this and that. Alice brought a barbecue chicken and yellow rice that she cooked in her new pressure cooker which was delicious. The cheese and summer sausage disappeared. Alex's little pastries were great; I had the pumpkin creme brulee ones. Yum! Had a chicken wing, some chips, most of the Special Dark miniatures in the bowl, two of Lin's piecrust rolls, and lots of Alice's dish. Tried the sangria, but it needed more fruit juice; it still tasted too much like wine. :-)

And finally...tick...tick...tick...tick...it's time for the Happy New Year, Snowy. A chorus of "Happy New Year," the clink of glasses, and 2014 is history.

Bye, Willow. We miss you...

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» Tuesday, December 30, 2014
A Proper Tuesday

I've finally had the day I've wanted since before Christmas! I had two nice walks with the dog, and did little chores and all the laundry between reading favorite Christmas books and listening to BBC4X—Adrian Mole at Christmas, the Ladies of Letters, and a series about the history of home life in Britain, not to mention a program about the Wise Men and another about the craftsmen in Italy who make creches.

James came home in the afternoon and went down to the Man Cave for a while. We had steak and potatoes for supper and later I put on Little Women (with Winona Ryder). The scenery is so lovely in this, and I love the score.

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» Monday, December 29, 2014
Bargain Day
I decided that it was about time I got up and started hunting for after Christmas deals, but I wasn't going to rush, either. Tucker had a good walk and I had a good breakfast, and I started doing some tidying for the party. I was also hoping James might get out early, but when he wasn't home by noon, I just jumped in the car and headed for the Avenue at West Cobb. On the way I stopped at CVS, but they were completely out of decorations; I usually buy enough tinsel there or at Walgreen's to replace what I put on the tree, but I was out the gate too late this year. Still stopped by Walgreens to see if they had any worthwhile Christmas things left. I got some Russell Stover dark-chocolate gingerbread Santas for a few extra desserts, but there was nothing else. While I was in the store James called and said he was on his way home, and I wasn't but a couple of miles from home, so I went back to pick him up.

The place was literally wall-to-wall, but we managed to find a parking space right in front of Yankee Candle. They are having a great sale, so I picked up a gift there, and also some "Christmas tree" and "gingerbread" tea lights at half price. James waited in the car until I was done there, and then we drove down to circle a bit until we found a space sort of near Barnes & Noble. He limped gamely in behind me and I found an absolutely perfect gift for someone there, and a couple of other things, plus the new "ReMind."

Then we walked very slowly down to the Hallmark store, since the car was closer to it than it was to the bookstore, and he sat down on a bench while I went inside. I have some credit there and walked out with a lovely gift which cost me something like fifty cents. And I still have more credit left which is good through April, so I can pick up something else nice before then.

We did drive down to the end of the row to stop at Kirkland's, which was having their usual after-Christmas sale, but, alas, I didn't have the luck there as I did last year.

And then it was home for supper.

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» Sunday, December 28, 2014
Will the Last Person Out of Atlanta...

...please shut off the lights?

Seriously! We went down to Warner Robins today and you might have thought it was a weekend before Christmas. It took us nearly three hours to make the 100 minute trip. Of course, it seemed like we were sharing the road with that half of the country (plus one car from Ontario) who was driving down to the House of Mouse! SUVs, campers, small cars, big cars, cars carrying bicycles... Maybe there were people returning things at the outlet mall and the shopping centers, or shopping with gift cards, too. What a fat pain in the neck! Thank God for downloaded podcasts! We listened to a Rick Steves Christmas program and an episode of "The Splendid Table."

Thankfully spent a nice afternoon relaxing with Mom and Candy. Did presents and had spaghetti and meatballs for lunch.

The ride home was much quicker, with a Rick Steves New Year program—you should wear red underwear for good luck, say the Sicilians—and another "Splendid Table." Came home exhausted and just wanted to sleep, but there was this poor dog who'd been locked up all day.

We'll pay you back, Tucker.

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» Saturday, December 27, 2014
A Rude Interruption

We would have liked to have gone to the Farmer's Market this morning, but they are closed through the 10th. Instead we had breakfast and listened to Snowy sing along to This Old House. My back was giving me fits. It wasn't just hurting, it was cramping up, which made it exceedingly hard to get dressed, and James ended up taking Tucker out this morning. I sat myself on the sofa with the courderoy "husband" for suppert, and it was reasonably unkinked by the time we picked up Alice's birthday gift from under the tree, got in the truck, and headed for Uncle Maddio's Pizza Joint at Aker's Mill shopping center.

There is a double left turn at Aker's Mill and we were just starting through the turn when we heard a horn, a screech, and a bang, and the truck was shoved sideways and our necks snapped back. James and I looked back and there was something round and black was in the middle of the road, and there was a red coupe sitting in the lefthand turn lane with its front bumper pulled off. We pulled up to the curb on Aker's Mill in fear that someone had been hurt or the lift had been damaged, but there was just an inconsequential dent in the rear panel between the rear left wheel and the bumper. The bumper was fine and the lift wasn't touched. Mel Boros had pulled up ahead of us, having been several cars behind us and seen the truck parked at the side of the road. I called 911 and they told us to pull over somewhere, so we pulled over into the Bank of America parking lot and soon the lady with the red car followed along with the police. The policeman looked at the accident site and said the skid marks showed that James had probably been a little over the line when he turned. It didn't seem that he made that sharp a turn, but that is a bad corner. I'm not at all sure how she hit us, though. James said he did not see anyone on his left when he started through the intersection.

So we got to Alice's party a bit late and I was shaking all over and sick to my stomach by the time we got there. Both Aubrey and Jessie came over to give me a hug and I frankly started to cry; they are such sweet young ladies! Needless to say, although I ate the pizza because I was hungry, I didn't really taste it all that well and it made me sick later on.

Everything broke up about 3:30 and we drove up to Town Center to the "Chicken Salad Chick" store, which is next to Ippolito's Restaurant (next to where Michael's used to be). Stu at Cuisine on the Run, James' go-to chicken salad place, had recommended them. He got their standard chicken salad and one with apples and grapes in it, and I got one that sounded close to Trader Joe's old "gourmet chicken salad" that I used to love. We also bought a cheese ball for Bill and Caran's party.

We stopped at Barnes & Noble for a few minutes and I was able to make a start on next year's shopping. I also got a calendar for the spare room at half price.

On the way home we realized we couldn't go shopping as usual on Sunday because we were going down to James' mom's tomorrow, so, however reluctantly, we stopped at Kroger. But this meant we could get the bread and garlic spread we needed for tomorrow, as well as a dessert. We got a chocolate pudding cake.

Later chatted a bit with Mike, Jen and Emma online, but I was still feeling shaken up.

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» Friday, December 26, 2014
Rest First, Play Later
I was feeling a little under the weather this morning and wanted to make sure I was in good shape for our Boxing Day gift exchange tonight. So while I did a few chores, including washing the sheets and blankets, I pretty much swigged some ibuprofin and watched Christmas stories, starting with Rankin-Bass'  The Little Drummer Boy, which I love not only for its story, but the beautiful song "One Star in the Night" sung by the Vienna Boys Choir. I had just started the compilation of Tennessee Ernie Ford's Ford Show Family Christmas when Snowy burst out into song. Nor was the little guy wrong: James walked in the door too late to see Lee Aaker and Rin Tin Tin, but soon enough to see Jon Provost and Lassie (Jon tells Ernie he is running away from home because his parents didn't get him what he wanted for Christmas: a 12-gauge shotgun and a baby sister).

James rustled himself up some lunch while I went on to Christmas Around the World With Perry Como. Amused at the bickering on Amazon about the picture—1970s, guys, and probably not master tapes; did you think the network kept them?—and that the shows were shot in the autumn (what, you expected them to film at Christmas and interrupt the festivities?) and that Perry repeats too many songs (which is rubbish, because all he repeats is "Ave Maria," and that was always his Christmas signature tune).

Finally to a favorite, the Little House on the Prairie take on O. Henry, "Christmas at Plum Creek," and finally the unusual PBS special, Simple Gifts before getting dressed, packing up the gifts and our food contributions, and heading over to the Lawsons.

It was a great time. We got to see the new travel trailer, just a small one, but wonderfully compact and comfy, and had pizza for supper along with chips, cheese and crackers, brownie bites and other goodies. Alice, Juanita, Jessie and Aubrey did try playing an "Ender's Game" strategy game, but mostly we talked and exchanged presents. I think my personalized shepherd's hook bookmarks and Aubrey's Doctor Who-themed book thong were a hit. John liked the black plaid shirt.

By the time we arrived home, it was almost bedtime, which disappointed Tucker muchly!

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