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, December 31, 2006
Happy Hogmanay!
New Year's Eve everywhere, in Holiday Harbour.

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» Friday, December 29, 2006
"Fast Away the Old Year Passes..."
...so we watch Christmas films in Holiday Harbour.

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January 21 at 9 PM EST
Yay! The Dresden Files

Okay, so they changed Karrin Murphy to Connie Murphy...but Bob is now a guy? Too weird.

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Books and Things
After running around all week, I took it a bit easier today and did a couple of errands, bought wrapping paper for next year (zowee, 75 cents for 100 square foot rolls!) and stopped at the library to see about getting an interlibrary loan (I'm planning to do a web page on The Five Little Peppers books and want to read the other four books that I don't have) before coming home to watch some Christmas movies and specials.

Yesterday I did a bunch of shopping for dinner, did laundry, cleaned the house and gave Willow a bath in the morning. Our guest arrived around 1:30 after a long drive from northern South Carolina and I finished patching some pants after taking him on "the nickel tour." We watched the two first features on the "Your Host, Walt Disney" Disney Treasures set, then I played the Get Smart reunion sequence for him. I think he got a big kick out of it. It's a super bit: 65 minutes recorded about two years before Don Adams died, featuring Don, Barbara Feldon, executive producer Leonard Stern, director Jay Sandrich, and producer Burt Nodella, and Bernie Kopell. Very funny.

I made chicken cacciatore and a salad for supper, which we ate with a side of French bread, and pieces of a little chocolate cake that I got from Harry's. It looked like one of Mrs. Hewison's Christmas cakes in miniature; only 4 inches across. Then we watched Jeopardy and finally crammed in four episodes of Doctor Who, including the heartbreaking season finale.

We saw Rodney off at eight this morning. It was a great visit.

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» Wednesday, December 27, 2006
R.I.P. Gerald Ford
Former President Gerald Ford Dies

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» Tuesday, December 26, 2006
Note to Our Upcoming Visitor...
...unless something changes radically over the next two days, I'm making chicken cacciatore. :-)

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Shopping After Christmas...
...and all that jazz in Holiday Harbour.

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» Monday, December 25, 2006
Ho-Ho-Ho Holidays...
...complete with birds, budgies, biscuits, bows, and a bishop in Holiday Harbour.

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A Merrie Christmas!

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» Sunday, December 24, 2006
"Christmas is Coming..."
...with birds Christmas feasting, budgie kisses, treats cooking for dinner, and a blast from the past in Holiday Harbour.

(Mike! Thanks again for the wonderful Christmas surprise!)

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» Saturday, December 23, 2006
An Old-Fashioned Tree...
...in Holiday Harbour.

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» Friday, December 22, 2006
Christmas-y Goodness
Christmas Book LinkThey sprung us an hour early today so I headed for Michael's; used a coupon on tape to wrap gifts. Withdrew some money to be able to present as a tip to the fellow who cuts our lawn, and also got a dozen Davidson eggs. These are pasteurized in the shell. I'm planning to make proper eggnog...eggs, milk, a little sugar, some cinnamon...like my mom made me for breakfast on school mornings so long ago.

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"Jack Frost Nipping at Your Nose..."
...(not hardly, unless you're in Denver) and other winter solstice links in Holiday Harbour.

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A Mixed Bag
Christmas Book LinkYesterday I got my teleworking equipment.

I already had a security keyfob to be able to log on the network from home, and had gotten into the system, but had not yet done any work through it. I told the telework people I already had a computer system (with virus coverage and a firewall, and not wireless for security purposes). But everyone got the same setup as part of the telework pilot: a new Dell laptop, plus a separate keyboard, mouse, port station, four-in-one printer so we can receive faxes (the downside is you have to list your personal phone number as the fax number), and a 19-inch flatscreen monitor.

(It's actually not our—PGO's—equipment: everything belongs to pandemic influenza. If there's an outbreak, we have to give everything back, so we've been told to keep the boxes.)

The problem is that there's nowhere to put it.

Ikea does have a pint-sized roll cart for computers and we can keep the setup in our room and then I can wheel it out and connect it to the DSL connection in the morning. (This means we have to go back to Ikea; ouch! twist my arm! <g>)

Anyway, last night I brought three of my orders home and did them on my own computer. I had done all the backwork (sole source justifications, quotations from the vendor, Excluded Parties printout, etc.) to them, which is the hard part, and got in to see if I could enter all the info into ICE and then build the order. Well, everything works fine: the build is pretty slow in the part where it has to fill out the blocks in the cover sheet of the OF347—I figure it's because I'm working on the system through Internet Explorer, which is a pokey SOB. I did two orders and printed them out this morning; did another half order but waited until I got in and confirmed which was the correct vendor; they're listed in our database twice because the two different branches of the company have two different Dun & Bradstreet numbers and if you pick the wrong one you have to do a modification to the order.

Every time we do a modification it costs the taxpayer money, so I want them right the first time. <wry g>

We can start teleworking any time after the first of the year; will start on Thursdays at least, because Thursday is the most damnable day for traffic: last night I actually did fine until I entered the "sinkhole" area that surrounds Cumberland Mall—or maybe it's a whirlpool because everyone gets sucked in, but it doesn't move anywhere near that fast. (There's no way around it; I have to go past Cumberland Mall to get home. Even if I go out of the way two exits north the traffic is backed up. Everything stops at Cumberland, especially four days before Christmas.) It ended up taking me 75 minutes to get home, 35 minutes to go the last eight miles between the freeway and our house.

My cousin Debbie got her Christmas card yesterday and called me with the startling news that my godmother had sold her house quite recently! She had lived there since 1929! It was her parents' house originally and they built it in time for her to attend the first classes at my old junior high, Hugh B. Bain. I didn't know all this until last summer, except that the area the house was on used to be a trotting track and fairgrounds from the mid-1800s to the early 1920s and then the trotting track became a race track in the late 20s, which is why the neighborhood was called "Speedway." She told me her family used to own all the land around the area, including the land across the street where the Angelones used to live and the Costas now live and on summer nights they would sit on "Eddie's front lawn" and the kids would play there. But gradually her mother sold off the parcels, one of which my parents bought.

She ended up selling because her sister-in-law Dotty, who used to live upstairs in the house, passed away in the fall, and then my godmother broke her hip. Dotty's daughter didn't want my godmother alone in the house. She's now living at an assisted living place, but when Debbie saw her, she was back on her feet and said she could drive again soon. I hope so. The idea of my godmother having to sit still is rather daunting. She was always doing something. Even on the hottest or coldest days she would dress early in the morning and go out and tend her yard, and then go out: maybe just to walk around the mall or visit her sister-in-law Alvia.

Can't imagine them being gone from that house. I wonder if my godmother was able to take her piano. It was just a cabinet piano. She would play it nights after supper and when the windows were open you could hear the pretty music floating from the living room windows.

So sorry to hear about Dotty. I remember when my mom was so sick one night she came over with a little container of grape-nut pudding. She knew Mom's mouth hurt all the time as a byproduct of the radiation treatments and that some nice soft grape-nut pudding would be cold and comforting. She and her husband and daughter used to have a little black poodle, a mini, not a toy, named Suzette who adored my mother. She would come next to our back door and bark for my Mom to come out and rub her tummy, even in the coldest weather, and Mom would put on her coat and go outside to oblige her.

So I'm feeling a bit blue today, plus it's raining and as dark as twilight out. It's 45 minutes until I can take my Prilosec because I took my thyroid pill at 6 a.m. and the heartburn is making me ill. (You can't take an antacid within 4 hours of a thyroid pill. I used to take the thyroid pill before bed to avoid this but my doctor said that was probably what was causing my insomnia, so I quit. So I can either not sleep or be sick to my stomach all morning. What fun.)

Almost no one is here. A lot of folks have use or lose, and it's just absurd not to take leave between Christmas and New Year's because you sit at your desk and do absolutely nothing. All the end users you need to contact are on leave and most of the vendors have the week off. So I'm joining the crowd. I have a little list for next week:

• First and foremostly, redistribute the photos in smaller boxes so that I can move the bookcase from the spare room into the craft room so that Rodney will be comfortable when he stays over (and also Shari, if she would like to come for Bill and Caran's New Year's Eve party).
• Make arrangements for the after-a-year home inspection.
• Do some reading.
• Work on a new web page I have been outlining.
• Do some cross-stitch.
• Paint the "Wish" garden ornament for the nook in the yard.
• Put up some photos and artwork in the master bedroom.
• Dispose of some things we no longer have room for (does anybody want our set of Myriad issues?).
• Put up the bookshelf wall decoration in the library so James can put up his magnetic boards.
• Rearrange the closet in the guest room and take anything extra to Goodwill/the library for donation before end-of-year.

At some point I also want James to mount some wire shelving in our bedroom closet and also in the laundry room and "Christmas closet." But I think that's a post-January 1 project. After that, it's back to work on the library.

Maybe we could get the ceiling fans in the bedroom up, though...

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» Thursday, December 21, 2006
Everybody's Wild About Harry
LOL. I got home to find the news of Book 7's title on both my Borders e-mail and my Borders Rewards e-mail.

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Yes, But When Will It Be PUBLISHED?
...she asked testily, with hands on hips. :-)

Harry Potter 7 Title is Revealed

Interesting...the American Heritage Dictionary defines "hallows" as

hal·low tr.v. hal·lowed, hal·low·ing, hal·lows
1. To make or set apart as holy.
2. To respect or honor greatly; revere.

And of course the named "Hallowe'en" comes from "All Hallows Eve," since it is the day before All Saints Day.

(Tip of the hat to Alice.)

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Thursday Threesome

From the Holiday Series

::Plenty of time::

Onesome: Plenty-- of time, take a deep breath. Overnight/Saturday delivery could work for you... So could a trip a few hundred miles away if you're into shopping on Sunday! How are you doing? Do you have it together?

Actually, yes. Wrapped James' gifts last night and they are under the tree and he wrapped mine. Need to get the rest of the stuff wrapped and go out for a couple of gift cards, and finish a craft project. (The craft project was a bit of a rush because I didn't think I needed the gifts until the 31st. Turns out I will need them Sunday. No sweat.)

Twosome: of-- all the states, I'm hearing the worst reports from Ohio! It has no snow! No snow, no Christmas! What's to be done? Is it looking like the normal Christmas weather there for you?

Yep, supposed to be fifties and raining. Ugh.

Threesome: Time--Time? Good grief, the 24th is days away, and most men haven't even awakened a sense of urgency as yet <g>. Is anyone done, finished, wrapped and resting?

Nope, but that's the fun of it.

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» Tuesday, December 19, 2006
Picture John-Boy With a Smoke...
...a new (old) wrinkle on a familiar Christmas story in Holiday Harbour.

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We'll Miss You, Joe
Yogi Bear's Co-Creator Dies at 95

Not to mention the creator of what was the best kids' animated adventure series ever, Jonny Quest.

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» Monday, December 18, 2006
Monday Madness

1. I get about  1  telemarketer phone calls on a daily basis.

The phone's calmed down from before Election Day, when every idiot politician was phoning "Vote for me; I'll change everything." Yes, the graft will then go in your pocket rather than the other guy's.

2. I never call anyone after  nine o'clock  at night.

3. I never call anyone before  eight  in the morning.

4. I (please choose one) DO screen my phone calls via caller ID.

Actually, through the answering machine.

5. I really should call  my godmother  more often.

But I don't want to depress her by crying. She was upset enough when my mother died and then when I had to sell the house. She and my mom were friends for fifty-four years.

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Comings, Goings and On the Road...
...we just keep moving along in Holiday Harbour.

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» Saturday, December 16, 2006
Cool News
The friend of ours who we visited while on vacation last month is going to be in the area visiting his mom and some old friends for Christmas. If he can work the schedule, he's going to drive down from his mom's on Thursday (the 28th) and stay overnight, then head to his friends' homes on Friday. That will be fun!

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» Friday, December 15, 2006
Baking Brings Memories Home...
...in Holiday Harbour.

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Wow, I didn't realize I hadn't done Friday Five in that long.

This week:

Crushes

1) Who was your first crush? (Celebrity or average)


Celebrity crush was Don Adams. I was almost ten and Get Smart had just premiered on NBC. My first guy crush was about the same time. His name also was Don; his parents bowled with my parents on Sunday night and he also came along with his folks, along with the daughter of another couple that my parents bowled with, Jeanne Miller. (Jeanne went to Catholic school and learned cool stuff, like anatomy. I was always envious.) Don was a couple of years older than I was, and the minute he was old enough to drive, he didn't come to the bowling alley any longer.

2) Who do you currently have a crush on now?

James, of course!

3) Have you ever become so obsessed with a crush, you went to extreme measures to find out everything about him/her?

Well, I bought movie magazines with Don Adams' stories in them and wrote to NBC and got an autographed photo, but that was about it. :-)

4) Has your crush ever turned out to be your future girlfriend/boyfriend?

No, despite what the Ouija board said. (Short story: Best friend Sherrye, another girl—I think it was Lisa Alhaverdian—and I didn't get invited to a school dance, so we had a party on our own. Either Sherrye or Lisa brought a Ouija board, which said I was going to marry Don.)

5) Did a best friend ever turn into more than just a friend?

Well, yes. James was a best friend.

Last week:

1. If you could, would you be a movie star or a rock star? Which one, and why?

Neither. I'm not interested in being famous as an actor. Might be interesting to be a radio star, but those are a bit of an extinct species.

2. Have you ever been in the media (TV, radio, papers)?

I was interviewed once on WSB after a bunch of us went to see Dick Tracy. I told them my favorite part of the movie was Charlie Korsmo (sp?), who played the little boy. I was once interviewed by the television/radio editor of the Providence Journal in eleventh grade. I had done a survey of television-watching habits among high schoolers for my journalism class and sent him the results, so he did a column about it. (The girls' favorite program was The Waltons; the boys' favorite was Kung Fu.) I was also interviewed in 1998 for the Marietta Daily Journal about my Remember WENN website.

3. Do you know anyone who's been on a reality TV show?

No.

4. Have you ever met anyone famous?

Sure, most of the cast of Remember WENN: Melinda Mullins, Kevin O'Rourke, George Hall, Amanda Naughton, Tom Beckett, Carolee Carmello and Hugh O'Gorman, plus the crew including director Juan Campanella. Carolee took us backstage at the Fox Theatre when Scarlet Pimpernel came to Atlanta, and Tom came out to talk to us after the performance of Thumbs that we saw in Nyack. Kevin used to show up in our chat room occasionally when WENN was still on the air. I've also met comedian Dave Allen when he did a show in Boston in 1981; Steve, Liz and I went to the stage door and he invited us inside to talk. He was fascinated because Liz worked at the Witch House in Salem, MA, and he loved ghost stories. Also met Nick Tate of Space: 1999 and James and I had breakfast with Peter David at one DragonCon (we were with a friend of mine, Mary Bloemker, who knew Peter back when he was writing Doctor Who fanfiction).

Had a near miss, too: James Doohan came to our room party during "Snowcon" (February of 1979) at the Hotel Pennsylvania (then the Statler Hilton), but none of us were in the room. :-) (Mary had a migraine and Ann just wanted to be quiet, Rosie and Gail had gone to supper, and Alice and I wanted to watch Backstairs at the White House.)

The nicest and best famous person I've ever met is Rupert Holmes: consummate writer and musician, funny as all get out, and a gentleman to boot.

5. Who would play you in a movie?

This question again? Someone boring, I'm sure.

Thanksgiving weekend:

1. What are you most thankful for?

Being alive. :-) (When you've had cancer, you think about that a lot.)

2. Think back one year, have the things you are thankful for changed?

Er, no, thank God. :-)

3. What did you feast on yesterday?

James made turkey, carrots, and a sweet potato souffle without the marshmallows (it was a recipe from Cooks Illustrated and thankfully not sweet). James' mom brought mashed potatoes and some green beans. For dessert we had pumpkin bread and apple pie.

4. This time of year is filled with parties, gifts, friends, and family, what are you looking forward to the most?

Well, we already went to one: the tour of homes. I've wanted to do that for years. And our Twelfth Night party. And giving out gifts. I love to give gifts.

5. Christmas is coming up, what if anything do you want for it?

Good company.

*BONUS: How do you like to cook your turkey?

Well, James cooked the turkey; he's the chef in the house. He brined it overnight just like Alton Brown is always recommending (for the sweet he used a cup of the dark maple syrup my cousin Donna brought us back from Vermont; thanks, Donna!). Then he cooked it and basted it with red wine. Heavenly...

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» Thursday, December 14, 2006
The "Real Sam Johnson's" Christmas Meme
Okay, Brent, I'll bite:

I gotta Christmas meme for everyone and it's very simple. Santa Claus has sent out an X-mas Genie to only the super good boys and girls out there and he's come to your house. Genies only give out three wishes, but X-mas Genies give four for Christmas. What do you ask for and remember, nothing is off bounds.

1. Well, if nothing is off bounds, I want everyone to be well: Colin and Robin and Juanita and anyone else who has serious or recurring illnesses. And if the Christmas Genie can only do that if he withdraws the other three wishes, that's fine with me.

But I have a feeling even Christmas Genies can only go so far. So

1. I'd like to be able to give large grants to research organizations for things like cancer and cystic fibrosis...so maybe in the future I won't need the original wish #1.

2. I still want that house in New Hampshire (with a gourmet kitchen and airstrip for James and a bay window for the Christmas tree and hardwood floors and a reproduction Hoosier cabinet and pre-installed network cable—did I mention hardwood floors?).

3. And the Cessna Citation and flying lessons for James so we can fly back and visit our friends (maybe go to Alaska?).

4. Enough money to support all this so I can form a small business doing web pages and James can go back to school for his history degree if he wants (LOL, and we can still afford medical insurance). Oh, yeah, and enough money to get Remember WENN out of AMC's hands and release it on DVD. (Hey, Ivan, if I get the rights to Remember WENN will you show it on your TV station? Uncut? Along with Lassie and He and She and My World and Welcome to It and Ellery Queen and Brooklyn Bridge? <g>)

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Thursday Threesome

Last week's:

From the Holiday Series

::Christmas is Coming::

Onesome: Christmas-- shopping: done deal? Haven't started? "Oh, man! Yeah, I need to make a list!" (I'm thinking this one may sort out by gender...)

It's done. Now that the tree's up I need to wrap the gifts and that will give me a last look at what I may need. I know I have two crafts projects I need to sit down to do, but I don't need the gifts until New Year's Eve.

Twosome: is-- it time to decorate yet? ...or do you still have another week or two to go?

The tree goes up on the weekend nearest my birthday, which was Monday. We were going to put it all up on Sunday, but got in so late that we just assembled it and put on the lights. Monday I did the ornaments and all the tinseling. It took a while to finish. :-) (Contrary to what James says, I do not put icicles on one at the time. Three at the time, maybe.) Next year will be better, I hope.

Threesome: Coming-- or going? ...or staying home? Are you visiting or hosting this Christmas? ...or both?

No idea yet. We usually are invited to dine with friends, but they may have other plans this year. If we're on our own, we'll buy strictly dark meat turkey, add some carrots and potatoes and the stuffing from Thanksgiving, and have a good time on our own. Wil and Pidge would certainly love it!

This week's:

From the Holiday Series

::Holly Jolly Christmas::

Onesome: Holly-- Hmmm... Do you have holly where you are? Is it used for decorating? ...and if not, what types of greenery are used to show off the season? Inquiring minds and all that...

We used to have holly in the bushes around our porch. There used to be a big holly bush outside my work building, but they tore it up for smaller bushes. Several varieties grow around here. We use artificial greens for decorating due to my allergies. The one time we had a live Christmas tree I had bronchitis the entire time the tree was up.

Twosome: Jolly-- Jolly Elf or The Grinch? How is your Christmas experience going so far?

Not too bad. Getting used to the new tree was a bit daunting since we've always had a small tree (4 1/2 feet) and I decorated it myself. Also, all the decorations had a certain spot in the old house. This year I had to figure out the new space where each thing would go. And making the 1940s village was a lot of fun.

I enjoyed the Historic Home Tour very much. This weekend (cross fingers) we are driving out to Birmingham for a Christmas party and next weekend we are planning to attend the Atlanta Radio Theatre performance at the Stage Door Players. A week later we will drive down to see James' family and the next weekend is our annual Twelfth Night party. I also hope to get to the Monastery in Conyers sometime during the season (maybe before the ARTC performance).

Threesome: Christmas-- Hey, I miss ol' Burl Ives singing the song in this header: who does your favorite Christmas song? ...and which song is that? Yes, yes, you're allowed more than one <g>...

I have so many versions of favorite Christmas songs. My favorite Christmas song is "Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas." Of course Judy Garland does the definitive version. My favorite Christmas carol is "God Rest Ye Merry, Gentlemen." I think I like Nat King Cole's version the best. Other favorites: Bruce Mitchell's "Joy to the World" (smashing instrumental version), Mannheim Steamroller's "Deck the Halls" and also "Silent Night" (a heartbreaking arrangement), Karen Carpenter singing "It's Christmas Time/Sleep Well, Little Children," and of course Bing Crosby singing "White Christmas."

• Listening to: Christmas at King's (King's College Choir from Cambridge, England).

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Remembering
I was thinking about my mom this morning; about what I called "our last good day" before the pain overtook her. We went to St. Anne's. I actually ended up there by accident, but sometimes with God there aren't any accidents. I vividly remember Mom looking up at me—the rheumatoid arthritis has shrunk her down to under five feet tall and bowed her right shoulder permanently—and whispering "I'm glad we came."

Me, too.

Saint Anne Parish and Shrine

Here are some pictures of the church but they don't really do it justice. It's very comforting to walk through the doors when the church is quiet, the candles glowing near the altar and from the little vaulted chapels in the rear, looking up to the beautiful arched ceiling and surrounded by the faint overlay of incense, walking past the straight-backed darkly stained pews and the solemn statues pockmarked with age.

A History of the Church

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» Wednesday, December 13, 2006
A Visit With Addie (and Jim and Elizabeth)...
...in Holiday Harbour.

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Limping Convincingly
We have a shower stall in our master bath. Of course it has a lip to prevent water from spilling on the floor. This lip is hard plastic with a metal edge.

Monday night when I was getting in the shower I was in a hurry and didn't lift my left foot high enough, with the result that I gave all my toes a hard whap against this metal edge right across about where the joint on the big toe is, all the way from end to end, big toe to little. YOW!

The bad pain abated after about five minutes, but the darn thing still hurt. I could walk to the bathroom only slighly favoring the foot next morning and I was getting dressed for work when I went to put my shoes on.

Ouch. The pressure of the top of the shoe put a stop to that. I stayed home yesterday with my foot up and taking regular anti-inflammatory OTC stuff, except the few times I couldn't bear the floor anymore and wielded a broom or the little Shark while standing flamingo-like on one leg.

There is a bruise near the nail of the toe next to the big one, but otherwise no real swelling. I'm sitting at my desk right now and the pressure from the top of my shoe is making me squirm. I may try relacing the shoe.

If I had to wear high heels to work I'd be sunk for the rest of the week.

Anyway, I'm walking a bit lopsided for one day and already my right hip and knee and ankle are protesting. I don't know how Hugh Laurie does it from week to week.

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» Tuesday, December 12, 2006
A Bunch of Photos of the House...
...in Holiday Harbour.

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» Monday, December 11, 2006
Birthday Blues
Been feeling down most of the day. Had a little cry getting dressed this morning. Wish I could phone my mom.

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Monday Madness

From last week:

1. I wish people would just  be nice to one another .

2. My biggest pet peeve where other drivers are concerned, is  those damn cell phones attached to their ears .

Does anyone else think people with those Bluetooth phones look odd? Like the Lobot in Empire Strikes Back?

3. I will probably spend about  somewhat more than usual on decorations  on holidays this season.

Almost all the gifts were bought during the year, so I don't know.

4. I really hope to  get some more sleep!  by the end of this calendar year.

5. I make about  0  resolutions each year.

This week:

1. What song gives you the most holiday cheer?

Hmn. My favorite Christmas carol is "God Rest Ye Merry, Gentlemen." My favorite Christmas song is "Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas."

But I think the one that makes me laugh the most—holiday cheer, no?—is "I Want a Hippopotamus for Christmas." Wicked bizarre! (If you can count dialog as a "song," then it's Stan Freberg's "Christmas Dragnet.")

2. Who is the hardest person to shop for on your holiday list?

Depends on the year. Some years I don't see anything for a certain person's interests. So it changes.

3. When do you start your holiday shopping?

December 26! (Seriously, I once bought a Christmas present for someone on December 24 for the following Christmas.)

4. What food or drink do you love when it's cold out? (Recipes and
recommendations, please!)


Chicken soup with rice! For a sweet, gingerbread. (No recipe needed. Just buy a package of Dromedary and add water. Bake. Mnnnn...gingerbread!)

5. What do you do to get rid of a cold or flu?

Suffer through it for a week, get a bacterial infection, then go to the doctor for drugs. <wry grin>

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» Sunday, December 10, 2006
Making a Start on the Christmas Tree...
...is part of a very long day in Holiday Harbour. This is a new tree, so we had much work with it. We are planning to get either a tree bag or some cheap sheets and just wrap it up after Christmas and put it into the closet. This is what my dad always did; it went downstairs into "the wine cellar," the small room he built in the corner of the basement where, when I was a little girl, he had a press and made wine, just like his dad. Later we used it as a pantry and a place to keep stuff like the tree and the equipment for Mom to make tomato preserves for "the gravy."

People who know I always name our trees will wonder what this one's name is. The last tree was "Serendipity" because I found it by accident. This tree is "Hope," because we found her last year after having to say goodbye to my mom. We needed some hope then.

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» Saturday, December 09, 2006
Still No Tree Trimming Yet...
...but there's a lot of Christmas work going on at Holiday Harbour.

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» Friday, December 08, 2006
Baby, It's Cold Outside
18°F to be specific, with the wind chill setting it as 7°F. In New England that's a typical winter day, but it's pretty cold for around here. (Actually, according to the Weather Channel, it's warmer in Rhode Island than it is here.)

The funniest thing is that some of these idiots still have their automatic lawn sprinklers set to go on in the middle of the night, so I drove past several places this morning where there were sheets of ice over the grass and the pavement from the sprinklers running last night.

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» Thursday, December 07, 2006
Walking Weather
It's so pretty out: only about 47°F with a stiff breeze. Excellent walking weather; I took a short walk at lunch. Supposed to be the same tomorrow. :-) Of course this couldn't happen on a Friday I'm off. It will probably be icky 60s again by next Friday.

By the time I get home it will be dark (traffic's already backed up 18-20 minutes to go the five miles between I-75 and the traffic sign on I-285 westbound and I don't leave for 30 minutes yet). Darn, no chance to enjoy it.

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Holiday Diversion...
...in Holiday Harbour.

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Some Stories for the Day
My dad was working as a knife polisher back then, at Colonial Knife, where his older brother was employed. He was also in the National Guard, so on December 7 he was immediately called up. He served in Europe, however, not in the Pacific, in Germany and Austria. At one point he was in the Black Forest and always commented how beautiful the countryside was. My favorite photo of Dad from the war is this one of him holding a fawn. The fawn had been separated from his mother during a battle and all the boys in his company cuddled it and had photos taken with it, a respite from carnage. Later the doe returned and they released their temporary pet.

Some more of Dad's war pics here.

My Uncle Sammy, my mother's younger brother, served in the Pacific. Mom said when he came home my grandmother burst into tears because he looked "like an old man," although he was only 27. The combination of the Pacific heat and the friction had worn most of the hair off his head. The soldiers still wore puttees when they first were shipped out there and again the combination of friction and heat rubbed all the hair from his legs. He was painfully thin and suffered from nightmares; my mother said although he didn't talk about any hardships when he was awake, in his sleep he muttered and cried out about men being killed and rats.

He never liked rice a lot and then in the Pacific a lot of what they served in the mess was rice. From then on he loathed the stuff and when I talked about loving chicken soup with rice he would make horrible faces.

My uncle Ralph (married to Dad's sister) was also in the Pacific, on the USS Muskogee. It served in the Aleutians and also near New Guinea.

Almost all my uncles on both sides and most of my older male cousins served. My cousin Raymond, who passed away this year, was stationed in California, loved it there, and went out to live. I have some photos that my mother kept of her nephew, my cousin Skippy (his real name is John; the oldest son of her older sister) from the service.

I've never asked my other relatives what Pearl Harbor and World War II was like for them; I guess I was too shy. I wish now that I had. The only story I have is my mother's. She and her mother were doing the time-honored Sunday afternoon ritual of visiting after Sunday dinner. They were walking up to a friend's house and could hear shouting from inside the house; then the friend threw the window open and told them the news.

They went to church, she told me. The church was jammed with people. I can't remember if she said the priest just led them in prayer or actually said a Mass. The image haunts me: the old-fashioned Catholic church with its big stained glass windows, the vigil candles glowing row by row next to the altar—and more of them being lighted as more people came in to pray, the sharp scent of incense and perhaps of Christmas greens that had been put up for Advent, the muted light, the people in their Sunday best crying or with sad, angry faces...

Pearl Harbor Survivors Gather for "Final Reunion"

A different story about the final reunion

SAN FRANCISCO: Pearl Harbor Was a Close Thing for the City in 1941

An Indiana Survivor's Memories

A Pennsylvania Survivor's Memories

An Ohio Survivor's Memories

A Storm Saved Them from Carnage

Arizona's Final Mission

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James Kim
He tried his best. :-(

Father's Effort to Save His Family Called "Superhuman".

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A DVD Box Set Worth Thinking About
The first season of Saturday Night Live, uncut: more here.

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» Wednesday, December 06, 2006
Christmas Cards, St. Nicholas, and Mr. Moore's Poem...
...all today in Holiday Harbour.

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Farewell to Jason Fox
:-( One of My favorite comic strips.

FoxTrot to Cease Dailies

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» Tuesday, December 05, 2006
A Saddlebag Full of Toys and St. Nicholas, Too...
...some links for St. Nicholas Eve in Holiday Harbour.

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Not Clear Sailing
We saw Intrepid several years (in fact it was 1998, on the same trip when we visited the WENN set). Cool museum and relatively easy to get to considering it's on the island of Manhattan! Would love to go back someday when I can enjoy it, since I had a migraine that day.

Tugboats to Try Again to Pull USS Intrepid Out of Mud

It made me smile when they talked about the aircraft being shrink-wrapped. I noticed when we moved that I need not have masking-taped the furniture drawers and doors shut; the movers now wrap your furniture in shrink wrap so it doesn't get scratched.

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» Monday, December 04, 2006
"And Now, For Our Regularly Scheduled Program..."
"People believe what their heart tells their eyes,
So when you can't get it all together—improvise!"

. . . Antoine, Here Comes Peter Cottontail

Recreating radio station WENN (or, rather, its building), in Holiday Harbour.

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» Sunday, December 03, 2006
Louisa May Alcott and the American Girls...
...chats about two books with her Christmas tales and how they relate to the modern American Girl novels in Holiday Harbour.

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We Tour Homes and Hearths...
...an activity for the First Sunday of Advent in Holiday Harbour.

I really enjoyed this and hope we can go again in the future. They say they don't repeat the homes any more than every six years, so we'd see six different homes each for the next five years. I always wonder if some of the big homes on Whitlock Avenue are on the tours.

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» Saturday, December 02, 2006
Vintage Christmas Music...
...some albums noted in Holiday Harbour.

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Christmas Lights...
...going up at Autumn Hollow.

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» Friday, December 01, 2006
Daylog
• Publix to recycle plastic bags
• Pike Nursery to indulge in heavenly scents from live Christmas trees
• Books-a-Million, where I bought the Christmas issue of Cottage Living; lovely Christmas things; also found a little volume on remainder about Miracle on 34th Street
• Longhorn for lunch—was good and had a sweet potato instead of baked
• Michaels; they're all out of churches for their Christmas villages; did get some "iced" branches to decorate the doll-sized sled I bought at A.C. Moore for the porch
• Walmart (needed oatmeal); found a topper for the mini-tree and also bought myself a snuggly blue bathrobe and the Christmas Birds and Blooms
• Brandsmart, where I discovered the lack of Cyberhome players
• Garden Ridge, where I bought the last church building they had

Came home past downtown Marietta to stop at the Post Awful for Christmas stamps and decided to do something I'd planned to do ever since we moved to Marietta eleven years ago: go on the Marietta Pilgrimage Christmas Home Tour. Each year six historic homes are toured: you learn the history of each house and they are decorated for the season. We can either go tomorrow or Sunday.

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Electronics'R'Funny, DVD Edition
"When last we met," I reported our original Cyberhome DVD player (let's call it "Fred") had apparently given up the ghost. We got up one morning to find that our Hi-Def TV feed had gone haywire on the color and "Fred" was only giving us a vertical blue line.

The Hi-Def feed was okay by the next day, but "Fred" seemed shot, with the same blue line. So while I was out today, I went to see if Brandsmart had any more and what they were selling it for. I didn't find any Cyberhomes. When I got home and checked online, I could find the brand on Amazon, but not at any "box" stores. Doing a bit more searching, I found Best Buy had apparently quit carrying them since they were getting so many complaints.

Well, whatever. I would just swap out the nonworking unit with the one in the guest room (let's call the bedroom unit "Barney"). Brandsmart has another little DVD player, an eTEC, that we could buy instead. Meanwhile, we really aren't expecting any guests who will want to watch DVDs (we had bought the DVD player in the guest room for my mom anyway).

So I pulled out "Fred" and installed "Barney" under the television. I had wondered if something was wrong with the S-video cable leading into the unit, but "Barney" worked flawlessly. Just to see, I set up "Fred" up in the bedroom and turned it on.

Darned if "Fred" didn't work fine now.

So either perhaps the S-video cable was loose in "Fred" or perhaps the S-video connection in the unit was bad, since it is hitched up to the television in the bedroom with RCA cables instead.

Who knows? :-)

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