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 theyoungfamily (at) earthlink (dot) net
. . . . .
. . . . .
» Monday, April 30, 2007
1. Currently, what television commercial is your least favorite?
Oh, where do I start? The one that sticks in my head is for Petsmart. It's supposed to be funny, but they play it so much it's not anymore. Some dip of a guy is calling his dog. "Mr. Barkey-Buns Schnauzer!" I hope the dog bites him.
2. And which commercial is your most favorite?
I don't think I have a favorite at this time. I still turn my head at the Liberty Mutual "pay it forward" commercial, but they never play all of it anymore.
3. Of the sitcoms that are on during "prime time" how many do you watch on a regular basis? Please share.
4. Is there a television series that you enjoy watching that is ending this season?
Not that I know of ending this season. Is E.R. being cancelled? I keep hearing commercials about "closing the emergency room."
5. Is there any type of program you'd like to see more of on television?
Historical documentaries. Decent miniseries based on novels that are not "Lifetime movies." Where are things that are the caliber of Roots, Centennial, and Eleanor and Franklin?
6. Is there any type of program you'd like to see less of on television?
"Reality" television of the contest sort (although reality TV shows are getting a bit much in total).
7. Is there a series that is no longer aired that you wish would come back?
8. Do you watch re-runs of anything on television?
The animal rescue type series on Animal Planet, when nothing better is on.
» Sunday, April 29, 2007Sunday Surprise
When I woke up to "use the facilities" it was a quarter to nine. I thought we'd sleep a little more. Next thing I knew it was almost eleven.
If we had done our marketing as we should have, we would have ended up going to four stores; we cut it down to two and didn't get a couple of things. Picked up a few things to get us through to the monthly WalMart run.
We had a big surprise at BJs, though. As you know if you've read here long enough, James and I are both big fans of the HBO miniseries From the Earth to the Moon, down to its wonderful score (and to the point where I have a web page about it). One of the first DVD sets I bought was a used rental set of FTETTM that was missing the fourth disk with the extras. (We read a lot of reviews that said the extra disk was interesting, but after you watched it once, that was the limit of its usefulness.) This first version that HBO did was full screen (the series had been shot widescreen) and with a regular soundtrack.
Two years ago they came out with a better release, widescreen with a Dolby soundtrack (also DTS if you had the technology). Same extra disk. Again, we read the reviews and decided $60I think it initially started out at $80was a bit much to spend since we already had a decent copy which played even better when we traded in the old Apex for the Panasonic (we discovered then it had sound on the menu track; the Apex never played it).
So today we walked in BJs and found the whole kit and caboodle for $22.99. How could we resist? So we've been keeping cool this afternoon watching it.
James is making some type of spaghetti bake he found in a Weight Watchers cookbook for supper. I grew up with people who made baked spaghetti along with the regular kind and have never been much fond of it, but this has romano cheese and fresh tomatoes and even a sprinkle of cinnamon and nutmegworth trying out. It's taking him some time: you have to cook the spaghetti and also make a sauce with the romano cheese and three eggs (!!!), stirring it constantly for seven minutes, and then layer it with tomatoes and some ground beef and bake it for 30 minutes. This is the difference between James and me; as far as I'm concerned, that's too darned much trouble to go through for food! I like chicken cacciatore, where you just glop it all on and turn every fifteen minutes, or making "gravy" where you brown the meat, then just let it simmer for three hours.
Cooking...eh. I'd rather write.
» Saturday, April 28, 2007As the Day Goes By
Our lawn man showed up really early for a Saturday. Since he's cutting the !@#$%!@#$%! grass, I won't complain. As long as it's not me. I hate grass; all it does is make my eyes water.
The ear is...better, I guess, since it itself is not swollen any longer and not hurting most of the time (it is pinching right now). However, there's still pain around the ear. Oddly, my right eye is now bloodshot, itchy, and aches slightly. I don't know if this is part of the same infection or something new.
We were at the bank at eleven to discuss putting away some money for retirement. while it's necessary, it all makes my eyes glaze over. I hate numbersGod's way of punishing us for our sins.
Rather aimless afternoon darting back and forth for various things. We visited the farmer's market for fresh fruit and veggies. Also went to Lowe's for a new bird feeder and new seed. The last time we were at Lowe's I bought a plastic container with birdseed to replace the old container that the lid cracked on two weeks after we bought it, which replaced the sturdy plastic container that we'd had for years, but the guy who repaired the rail on the deck broke that container by standing on it.
Well, apparently this plastic seed container was not made for being outside in the wet, because over a week ago I found that the seed inside was damp. Plus the squirrels, thwarted by the cayenne pepper in the bird feeder, were nibbling on the top hoping to get to something less spiced.
The damp seed in the bird feeder was clumped solid. We've had this happen before at the other house; once the seed starts clumping in the feeder, it just keeps happening even when you put new seed in. We've had the feeder a year; that's usually as long as they last, anyway. So first I had to clean the seed container out. I discovered the squirrels had gnawed more at the lid, then I looked inside to find grass growing inside. Sigh. So I disinfected the lid, dumped out the germinated seed, disinfected the inside, wiped it out until it was dry, dumped in the fresh seed, put some in the new feeder, layered with cayenne. (Apparently birds don't have the taste receptors for pepper; it doesn't bother them.)
In the meantime, James got his drill, saw, and a board and remounted the metal pole on which the feeder hangs. He had cut the last support board a little too short and the pole was always canted to one side. It looks better now. I swept up the deck, refilled the little bowl with water, all the time whistling. I do this every time I refill the feeder, hoping to work a little Pavlovian trick.
Sure enough, I was just gathering up the broom when a little chickadee flitted to the foot of the support pole. I froze. He flitted to the feeder, snatched a seed, then flew off with a "dee-dee-dee!" Later the nuthatches were at the seed, too.
I have put some foil over the seed container. I don't have any illusions that the squirrels can't chew through it, but maybe they won't like the taste or the texture.
And maybe pigs will fly.
But I can always try.
I suppose I need to look for a galvanized container with a lid. Anything else metal will rust.
» Friday, April 27, 2007Can't Keep Away from Ikea...
Yes, that's about right.
LOL. I finished reading Rebel Angels yesterday and one of the characters is named Philon.
Stories That Just Make You Feel Good
1. What is your all time favorite book?
Oh, please. That's like asking Olivia Walton which of the seven kids is her favorite. If I was having my arm twisted off, I'd probably say The Open Gate or Mary Stewart's Merlin trilogy, which I do have as an omnibus, so it is one book.
2. What is your all time favorite movie?
I used to say The Andromeda Strain, but I don't know now. I do love Galaxy Quest. And Airport. And Journey to the Center of the Earth. And Hunt for Red October. And...
3. What are you reading right now?
Outlander, Volume BB of bound Wide Awake magazines (December 1888 through May 1889), Volume VIII of bound St. Nicholas magazines (November 1880 through October 1881), and the e-book The Boy Allies at Liege (another rah-rah WWI series book).
4. What is your favorite show on tv?
No contest: House (followed closely by Jeopardy)
5. What is the last movie you saw in the theater?
Er, it was either Narnia or the last Harry Potter film. We'd intended to see The Astronaut Farmer, but it disappeared before we had a free weekend (we were still buying bookcases at that point).
Is It Possible...
...that I won't have to go to the doctor at all (especially after yesterday wanting to scream "give me an appointment, please!")?
This has been an "interesting" experience. The pain was annoying, especially as I mostly sleep on my right side, but the worst part has been feeling like I have a fever without having a fever. No energy. Chronic tiredness to the point of just wanting to sleep over anything else. Not being able to concentratesitting here looking at work I've done for years and there being no coherence of how I needed to do it. Frustration.
This morning I woke up realizing I'd been sleeping on my right ear and it didn't feel like someone was trying to jackhammer a knitting needle through it. I'm not well: still stuffy, cottony feel in the ear and it's plugged, but not as bad (if I plug my left ear I can hear James talk when he's in the same room with me, and I can hear Pidge sing), still tenderness around the ear, still uncomfortable when I grit my teeth or chew, still a slight headache on the right side of my head.
But...better. Not time to let up on the analgesics or the hot compresses, but better. Even a little bit of energy.
Also a relief, since as I've mentioned several times, I've been having allergic reactions to certain antibiotics. Hope it continues fading.
» Thursday, April 26, 2007Urgh
I was on hold 35 minutes. No one picked up. I should call back. I don't want to call back. I don't want to cope with anything. I hurt and I just want to go back to sleep.
I'm stuck on the phone with the doctor. There are no appointments until Monday! Arrrgh! Trying to get a walk-in today or tomorrow.
Plus the exterminator came early, which was good. Except I didn't realize until after he had sprayed that he was not using the "green" stuff, which smells like cloves. The regular insecticide stinks terribly. I have turned the A/C off and stuck Pidgie in the spare room and opened the windows in the dining room. I hope the smell fades when it dries! I was so preoccupied with my ear I didn't even think to ask him what he was spraying with; I would have thought it was in our file that we are using "green" products.
From the advertising department:
Onesome: The-- marketing of goods and services. ...and the things they do to try to get us to buy their products! Are there any advertisments or commercials that really stand out to you right now?
I'm the world's worst commercial watcher. I never notice who the sponsor is. If the commercial is clever, I remember it, but not the sponsor. When Liberty Mutual did their lovely "pay it forward" "Responsibility" commercial, it took me forever to find out who did the commercial because I'd only paid attention to the music and the visuals.
There is one that grates on me right now: it's for some pet supply (dog food?). The guy calls his dog "Mr. Barky-Buns Schnauzer."
If I were the dog, I'd bite him.
Twosome: Cola-- cola, cola: which cola do you drink? ...or do you? ...or the UnCola? (Do you remember that ad campaign?)
Yes, I remember it. But I hate cola. I pretty much hate soda. My pediatrician did not believe in giving children soda, so I never drank it unless there was nothing else to drink, like at the beach. So I never got a taste for it, except for Warwick Club lemon-lime sodaand I always loathed the carbonation even if I like the flavor. I still prefer milk.
Threesome: Wars?-- Are there any good advertising wars going on in your area? Burgers, newspapers, ISPs?
It's very possible, but as I said, I don't pay much attention to commercials.
» Wednesday, April 25, 2007Sometimes It's Just Too Silly
Since I have a PT Cruiser, I get Chrysler's magazine a couple of times a year.
These car magazines aren't new. In a box in the garage I have some pieces of nostalgia: 1960s Pontiac Safari magazines we received because we bought a car from my Uncle Ralph, who worked at Fiore Pontiac, which used to be near Warwick Shoppers World/the old Cranston Drive-In/Eclipse syrup plant and is now wayyyyy up on Bald Hill Road approaching what used to be the Rocky Hill Fairgrounds and the Warwick Musical Theatre (otherwise known as "The Tent," even after it wasn't a tent anymore). It was a combination of car promotions, photos, letters, and travel-with-the-car articles, and the Chrysler magazine is similar, just updated.
Except it struck me silly when I saw it because there in an article called "Modern History" they talk about touring Boston by car (a Chrysler Aspen SUV, to be exact).
As if anyone in his right mind who does not need to drive around Boston would actually do it. Boston is probably the perfect pedestrian city, but its streets are narrow and winding like they were in Colonial times. It adds charm to the city but it's hell on drivers. And why on God's green earth would you want to drive around a city that's so perfect to walk? Heck, the entire Freedom Trailand this includes "Old Ironsides" over the Charles River in Charlestownis only five miles long. If you can't walk it, the subway goes there: Prudential Center, Symphony Hall, the Boston theatre district, the Museum of Science, the airport, the Kennedy Library, Harvard Square in Cambridge, Fanueil Hall and Quincy Market, the downtown shopping district, the Common and the Public Garden, Beacon Hill.
Let's be honest: in summer Boston, like any northeast city, is a humid hellhole; walking is not a pleasure then. But no matter what time of year, a car is an obstacle, not an asset. Even Chrysler obliquely acknowledges it while plugging their car: "Although you'll undoubtedly enjoy cruising past Boston's landmarks in your Chrysler Aspen, it's also an eminently strollable city." "Enjoy cruising past..." ::snort:: You mean inching your way through narrow streets clogged with double-parked cars, street construction, and the pedestrians that were smart enough to leave their cars behind? Oh, please.
The most ridiculous photo is the last, showing the gleaming Chrysler Aspen in a quiet street in the North End (Paul Revere's house is just visible in the background). Apparently someone blocked off the street on a Sunday morning just to get this shot. The North End is one of the oldest parts of the city, with convoluted streets. It's still chiefly an Italian neighborhood and is filled with lovely bakeries, coffee shops, eateries and trattorias. It is especially a place to stroll and savor, not sit cooped up in a block of metal inching along in traffic.
Want to visit Massachusetts with the nice Chrysler Aspen? Sure: use it to go to Lexington and Concord, Battleship Cove in Fall River, the New Bedford Whaling Museum, and "the Cape of Cod," to quote Radar O'Reilly. But when you go to Boston, ditch the damn car and enjoy the wonderful freedom of being in a city that's a pedestrian's dream. Cars are for sprawl like Atlanta and L.A., not Boston.
If anything my ear is worse; ear canal more swollen, pain touching around the ear, hurts when I chew or clench my teeth, pain on the eardrum now constant. The hot-washcloth provided brief relief only. I may actually get a fever out of thisI haven't had a fever since the hysterectomy. My temp is up to 99°F, which no one considers a fever; heck, the doctor doesn't pay attention to you anymore unless it's over 100. But since my usual temperature is 97°-something due to my allergies, 99 is actually pretty high for me.
Still, I'm sitting at my desk trying to work, since I have at least twenty orders here in various states of chaos.
God, this is annoying. I intended to get a jump on these two days ago.
When I say I'd like to experience new things, "ear infection" was not on the list. :-/
» Tuesday, April 24, 2007Ouch!
I think my ear is going to explode...
And Proud of It
A Singul-Ear Experience
I appear to have an ear infectionan "earache" as it's always been known. It started late yesterday afternoon, but didn't bother me until bedtime when I tried to get comfortable sleeping on my right side and it hurt.
For years I've had friends tell me about the ear infections they had as a child. James once had a case so severe his eardrum burst. Other friends talk about multiple attacks. Some of their children now suffer from the same problems. Newspaper articles talk about "earache" symptoms running rampant in daycare and even a fictional source, Lynn Johnston's comic "For Better or For Worse," has a young character, Robin, who suffers from chronic earaches complete with discharge and high fever.
I don't ever remember having an earache of that level. I've had pneumonia (once when I was two years old), bronchitis on numerous occasions, colds so severe both my tonsils and my adenoids were removed, bad colds and the flu with horrible pressure (one was so bad I couldn't hear the television over the ringing in my ears), sinus infections and allergy attacks, plus the Big Three (measles, mumps, and chicken pox), but no earaches. It's a weird experience: my ear feels stuffed with cotton with come-and-go pain as if someone was jamming a pen point into my eardrum. If I clench my teeth the ear hurts and so does touching the ear canal (it's sore around the outside of the ear, as well).
The most unsettling part is not being able to hear; if I plug my left ear, I am quite deaf unless Pidge calls loudly or an airplane flies over. I can't even hear the television when standing next to it.
I called the Kaiser advice line and they said there was no need to come in unless I had a fever or the pain was unbearable; that I should take an analgesic to help the discomfort, Benadryl to clear up any nasal stuffiness (I really don't have any excessive stuffiness; just the usual spring typeif I had a sinus infection, I could understand the earache), and if the pain was bad, a hot facecloth wrung out around the ear should help (but for God's sake not to put anything in the ear, like warm mineral oil or any other similar remedy), but to call back/come in if this wasn't gone in three or four days.
I'm not sure I want to be unconscious for the next four days, which is what Benadryl does to me. <wry grin>
» Monday, April 23, 2007Yay! Waking the Dead is Back on BBC America
About the BBC series Waking The Dead, starring Trevor Eve and Sue Johnston.
Very enjoyable crime drama ala CSI with wonderfully convoluted plots. BBC America is showing it on Mondays at 8 p.m. EDT with a repeat at eleven.
"For Engand and St. George!"
A Dip into the 19th Century
1. Name a song you know most (or all) of the words to.
Just one? Most Christmas carols, even the second and third verses. Most Rupert Holmes' songs. Most patriotic songs (learned them in school). A lot of television theme songs, including the lyrics to "My Mother the Car," which I memorized at age 9 and never forgot.
2. Name a movie that you have watched more than once and would watch again.
Just one? (Gad, there's an echo in here.) Galaxy Quest. Not to mention Airplane, Airport, Jurassic Park, Mister Roberts, Cheaper by the Dozen, Auntie Mame, Romancing the Stone, 7 Faces of Dr. Lao, Paper Moon, Journey to the Center of the Earth, The Andromeda Strain, Hunt for Red October, the Harry Potter movies, Star Trek movies, the Star Wars and Indiana Jones films, Spaceballs, Robin Hood: Men in Tights...wait, do you just want the whole DVD collection?
3. Have you ever read a book more than once? Please share.
Just one? (Oh, God, it's a running gag.) (Did I mention The Muppet Movie in that last question?) They're mostly in my bedroom or in the "My Favorite Books" bookcase in the spare room. All of Madeleine L'Engle's books, all of Gladys Taber's books, the Dorothy Sayers Lord Peter Wimsey books, John Verney's Callendar family books, Mary Stewart's Merlin trilogy, Kate Seredy's The Open Gate, The Chestry Oak, The Good Master, The Singing Tree and A Brand-New Uncle, The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, Addie Pray, Dutch Uncle, Johnny Tremain, All the Mowgli Stories, A Tree Grows in Brooklyn, to Kill a Mockingbird, Airport, Katherine Kurtz/Deborah Turner Harris' Adept books, The Good Old Days: They Were Terrible, Sudden Sea, A Wind to Shake the World, Alistair Cooke's America...wait, do you want the entire library?
4. Share an inspirational quote with us.
I believe that imagination is stronger than knowledge,5. What day of the week does (or did) your birthday fall on this year?
Tuesday. I have to ask for August 31 off for the Friday of DragonCon. This means September 4 is Tuesday. December is a mirror month for September, so if December 4 is Tuesday, so is December 11 (and so is Christmas).
Besides, all I had to do was look at the calendar in Windows. LOL.
6. Have you ever bought a book or cd or movie more than once because you forgot you bought it already?
Not a CD, but yes, a couple of books.
» Sunday, April 22, 2007On the Road Again, Volume 3...and Home
Sleeping with the windows open worked out much better. :-)
James was still restless on the soft bed, so was up at eight; I was stirring a few minutes later. Once I was dressed I opened the curtains to gaze upon the valley below the lodge buildings. I could hear ducks quacking excitedly in the distance.
James went to breakfast with the Lawsons and some others, but I stayed in the commons and had some apple juice, toast, and a granola bar and read the comics and my Wide Awake. When James returned, we finished packing up the room (I had done about half of it earlier), loaded up the truck and moved to Beverly...I mean Picnic Shelter 6.
The road to the picnic shelters, which continues to Anna Ruby Falls, is a miniature version of the switchback roads we rode up to Hiawassee on yesterday. The truck darted back and forth as glimpses of the lake, the leafing trees, and dead wood flashed in and out. Because of the altitude many of the leaves were still coming out here, and, as in town a couple of weeks ago, it seemed many of the trees reached full leaf over the course of the weekend.
It was very funny that just as we started this route of curves that the CD player switched to Petula Clark singing "Round Every Corner."
We always have a picnic to close out the festivities, since checkout time at the hotel is 11 a.m. Ken has done the grilling of late and does a smashing job. We had turkey and beef hot dogs, and hamburgers (there may have been some turkeyburgers in there, too). The picnic shelter is along Smith Creek where it leaps and plashes over the numerous rocks. The kids always go down to play at the water's edge, where they occasionally find crayfish, and always one kid will fall in. Jessie was first in the water, but she did it on purpose. This year's new winner was Charlotte, who is six. She wasn't hurt, but had to stay bundled in a jacket for a whilethis is mountain water and it's so cold it stings.
We were the first at the picnic shelter and I was adopted by a "bee fly" it was striped black and yellow like a yellow jacket, but was a flywho attached itself to my Wide Awake. It finally disappeared when I let Amy see the book.
So we had a lovely time chatting for another two and a half hours. Daniel's wife Oreta, who had to go to a school conference this weekend, arrived, as did Alex and Pat and their boys. Although the temps were forecast for the high 70s today, it was cool under the shelter cover and the breeze was delightful.
About 2:30 we headed for home. An unremarkable ride, and the fids very glad to see us. Pidge's beak is trimmed to regulation and his other tests came out okay, but it will take a few days for the results of the blood test. He was chirpy and happy all the way home while Willow panted and tried to settle down. She was stress-shedding so badly at the vet that when James petted her a cloud of hair rose and floated everywhere.
It's very warm here, though, and the sky is hazy with smog, a little disappointing after a cool comforting weekend.
On the Road Again, The Spring Edition, Volume 2, Part 3
There was a fun conclusion to the evening, which turned very rapidly into morning.
I dragged the laptop out to the common rooom to at least do a bit of chatting until my battery died, as I didn't want to mess with the power cords last night. But the WiFi connection was abominable. Granted, this is only my second WiFi experience, but the version in the AmeriSuites was so superior that having to go outside to get a 100 percent signal seemed a bit silly. What's the use of a conference hotelwhich is what this place often functions aswithout WiFi that also functions in the room?
Anyway, I chatted with Rodney and kept half an eye on the end of whatever they were watching, something about magicians called The Prestige, when my battery finally died. I think it was about 12:30. I settled down to cross stitch when Sarah (18) emerged with a game called Encore. She woke up Neil and Colin, a couple of years younger than her, and proposed they play against some of the adults they'd corralled, Jake, Amy, and Caran. This is a game where you are given a word ("red" or "girlfriend") or sometimes a category (a song with boys' names from A through G) and you have to sing at least six words or more of a song lyric containing that word. James, John, Daniel and I were supposed to be kibitzing, but we eventually were fully involved.
I mean, how could we resist when one of the words was "him" and James and I were both bursting with Rupert Holmes' lyrics?
We played two games and beat the I-pod crowd both times. :-)
About this time you would figure it was bedtime, since it was about quarter to two, but John said the Perseids were supposed to be at their peak in a few minutes, so the bunch of us, clad in shorts or light clothing in forty degree temps, tramped outside to the grassy area between the hotel room buildings and the lodge. It was better out in there rather than in the courtyard of the building, but the security lights around the courtyard still made seeing difficult. If you used your arm to block them out, all the main constellations could be seen quite clearly and then the lesser stars tiny faint pinpricks. The Big Dipper blazed overhead and there was a larger light that Jake identified as Saturn, plus a fast-blinking reddish star that no one could identify. It's hard to find anyplace to star watch any longer. We used to be able to see the constellations, at least, off our deck, but neighbors insist on keeping their porch lights on all night. The last time we had a good star-watching experience was when Hale-Bopp zipped by. We went out to Kennesaw National Battlefield Park, where we found at least a hundred other people stargazing as well.
By then it was time for bed. The bed was still uncomfortable, but the climate was better; we opened the windows!
» Saturday, April 21, 2007On the Road Again, The Spring Edition, Volume 2, Part 2
Supper at the lodge restaurant again, this time London broil, trout, and shrimp in garlic sauce on the menu. I skipped the trout and replaced it with a salad. We couldn't sit together at one big table (there were nine of us), so we ate with the Batemans, Jaime and Nesse. They are expecting their first child in August.
The main lodge has a big open area downstairs bisected by a big fireplace; we've never gone there when it was cold enough to see it lit up. Off one end of the room is a game room for those inclined and at the other end is a stairway up to the restaurant. There is an atrium between the stair and the fireplace that is hung with the most exquisite handmade quilts in various patterns and colors. These are also sold upstairs in an alcove next to the small gift shop; the restaurant is here, too, and there is a corridor off between the shop and alcove where the administrative offices and three meeting rooms are.
Back at the building, we changed into comfy clothes and joined the group; they were watching a Jackie Chan movie. I was sorting threads and cross stitching an owl with an autumn leaf while John brought out some tea and Jerry, Charles and Jake indulged in various wines. James then pulled out the "Winds of War" game he'd brought and he and Jerry played some, while I instigated an Uno game with the American Kennel Club set in the sunken fireplace seating. At various times, Juanita, Amanda, Alice, Betty, Kristine, and Sarah played while Caran kibitzed and various others dropped by.
The AKC set has four killer cards called "Best in Show." Whomever plays it calls a color and all the other players have to draw cards until they get that color. We had people having to draw up to a dozen cards. It was getting so we didn't have enough cards in the draw deck, so we withdrew three of the four Best in Shows and went on from there. Alice and Juanita went off to bed about 11:30 and that broke up the game. It was Betty's first time playing Uno and we had a ball.
On the Road Again, The Spring Edition, Volume 2, Part 1
I love this place, but the beds suck.
Of course at home we have a queen-sized bed which has baffles so we don't wake one another when we turn over in bed and it's very like a padded board, so we're used to hard and hotel beds almost never suit.
In any case, neither of us slept well and I got up with a screaming headache at the back of my neck which comes from the arthritis. So I took some ibuprofin and slept flat until the pain cleared and had another hour's sleep, after which I joined James and some others having breakfast in the common area. He'd had some bagels and I feasted on toast with peanut butter, a high protein bar, and a granola bar.
So we did go up to Hiawassee, via route 75, which, soon after it gets out of Helen, turns into a switchback railway within the woods. The road inclines steeply and does a series of hairpin turns, and you eventually climb to 2949 feet before cresting the ridge and gliding back down to the valley in which Hiawassee resides. Along the way there is a trailer park full of Airstream trailers, the line of the Chattahoochee River (or a tributary thereof, since it isn't marked), mountain homes, brief spurts of "civilization" like a country church or a clutch of homes, and fields of cows or horses and, one time, goats.
Hiawassee is a pleasant small town with a line of several chain stores, small shops, and the usual businesses of village life. We found Always Christmas on the way out of town in a strip shopping center. It is quite lovely inside, with all sorts of Christmas things including Department 56 villages (also Hallowe'en villages), Jim Shore artwork, ornaments, music boxes (including a wonderful gramophone music box with a record that actally turns over like a real one), lights, garlands, and sundry other things. Also, the store opened into the other stores in the shopping center, so you could just peruse in one shopping trip.
I was very bad. One of the Department 56 villages is circa 1920-early 1950s (depending on which figures you buy) and they have a Woolworth's building. When you look in the window you can see someone being served at the lunch counter. I also got some stuff that looks exactly like snow when you wet it. It has the crystal consistency and the texture of snow, but it isn't cold. You mist it to expand it. Plus I got a Christmas/winter "welcome" sled and some wreaths and garlands to trim the village homes.
Right before I left, I saw this adorable Lamb Chop puppet. I always loved Shari Lewis and Lamb Chop when I was a childshe was the naughty but never malicious child with the smart mouth. This puppet did talk; it says the new "smarmy" phrases, but in looks it's still a Lamb Chop. But we left, having spent enough, and drove on, through another small town called Young Harristhe whole "water department" is a shed-sized concrete block buildingand then to Blairsville.
There we turned around and came back. It was lunchtime, so we stopped at the barbecue place that was next door to the Christmas store. It was quite delicious barbecue. James looked at me and said, "You want that Lamb Chop, don't you?"
So it was a late Easter/early Mother's Day gift from the fids. Also got a magnetic mailbox cover with a U.S. flag on it for Memorial and Independence Day.
On the way back we also stopped at what used to be a little five and ten cent store. It still had the old fashioned shelves and some five-and-ten things, like puzzles and cheap toys and dishes, but most of it was devoted to knitting/crochet/sewing with a small corner with scrapbooking supplies. And then it was back down through the switchbacks, listening to the greatest hits of Petula Clark, till we were back to the lodge and the happy chaos.
Tell Me Something...
Why is Alec Baldwin verbally abusing his kid national news?
I mean I can see it showing up on gossip shows like Entertainment Weekly and Access Hollywood. But this guy is an actor. Why is what he did news?
I'm sick of actors and celebrities' antics being considered reportable news. This stuff used to show up in newspaper gossip columns like Luella Parsons' and Hedda Hopper's. Why is "Brangelina" breaking up or some actor adopting a baby worthy of a mention on real news programs? Can't we leave this trash for rags like The National Enquirer and The Star?
» Friday, April 20, 2007On the Road Again, The Spring Edition, Volume 1, Part 3
We had supper at the lodge restaurant with Alice and Ken and his family. Fridays are sometimes slim pickingseveryone seems determined to have fish!but they also had barbecue ribs on the menu. These were meaty, not fatty, and had a sauce that was not vinegary or spicy. Quite good.
Afterwards we gathered in the common area of the lodge building and did the usual chat. I finished a small cross-stitch project for James' mom and continued a little while on a Christmas heart, then read some from the book I had brought with me. Having now finished my collection of St. Nicholas, I am now accumulating some volumes of Wide Awake, which was published concurrently until St. Nicholas bought it out in 1893. But I think that's a subject for a Cozy Nook post, since there's some interesting aspects to the publication.
John (one of two here) is testing out a radio-control helicopter as I type. Four people are sitting in the sunken seating area around the non-functioning fireplace (they don't have fires after April 1). More folks are talking behind me. After getting some passable reception in the room before, the WiFi completely cut out, so I've come out to the common area to post, check e-mail, and have a brief fling on chat. I was going to go on battery, but James, Jerry and John (the other John) were enjoying a political blog and a video on YouTube, so I'm presently tethered to one of the very few plugs in the common area by the laptop cord and nine feet of extension cord.
We've been coming here together to Unicoi for a long time, longer than fourteen years; I'm not quite sure how long it's been now. The gathering used to be in October, but we got tired of the Oktoberfest bit that Helen throws each year in keeping with the Bavarian theme. We were trying to relax and the crowds were daunting. So we started coming in the spring, first in March and then in April. It's very obvious time has passed: when we first began coming here there would be a crowd in the common room until one, two, three o'clock in the morning, chatting, reading, playing games. Now it's only 11:45, but only about a dozen folks are here; the rest have gone to bed. Many of us are in our fifties and several folks here are in their sixties or seventies.
Tomorrow some folks will go into town, some will go on a hike, some bicycling. In the late afternoon there will be a Tea Party as was done last year. This year's theme is Harry Potter. Since we cruised Helen today, we're talking about driving up to Hiawassee tomorrow. I'd like to find the Christmas shop we always see advertised on the way here.
On the Road Again, The Spring Edition, Volume 1, Part 2
Nothing much was going on at the lodge, so we went into downtown Helen for a few hours. This little North Georgia town was dying in the 1960s, so the town fathers got together and recreated the area as a Bavarian village with gift and souvenir shops.
We had a nice two-hour stroll and I even found a real cross-stitch store (not cross stitch in a Michael's or JoAnn). I bought a cute pattern of leaves and acorns with a charm that says "Happy fall, y'all."
I also purchased my once-a-year dark chocolate almond bark and found a wonderful Christmas gift for my friend Sherrye, and James bought me a heart-shaped Christmas ornament with a collie's head on it.
Mostly we just window-shopped. We usually go into Helen on Saturday, so it was very pleasant to find no crowds to struggle through. One shop is full of cuckoo clocks, which always remind me of my father. He was in the Black Forest and in Austria during World War II and always loved the German cuckoo clocks. We also went into the glassblower's shop to watch him form those swan-shaped weather barometers that have liquid in them.
Came back to the lodge to find everyone setting up the tables with various treats, including lots of fruit. We're all going the healthy route these days, so along with the usual chocolate chip cookies we have low-fat granola bars and South Beach Diet rice bars. The usual coffee machines are being set up, but we haven't had the area "wired" for the microwave and bread machine yet. The fresh white or wheat bread with vegetable spread is a better treat than all the chocolate!
Since the WiFi connection is best in the courtyard, I'm out here with the two little Baskin girls, who are drawing chalk patterns on the concrete and decorating the worn wooden table with chalk "confetti."
But it looks like dinner time and we'll be heading for supper soon.
On the Road Again, The Spring Edition, Volume 1, Part 1
So we are ensconsed at the Unicoi Lodge. The WiFi only seems to work outside, not in the rooms. So we're outside at a picnic table. Can't stay too long because the battery on the laptop has already dropped 20 percent in about fifteen minutes.
We left Wil and Pidgie at the vet about eleven o'clock. Pidge's bill adds up to $330.00! That's for complete checkup, blood test, fecal flotation, polyoma shot, and the beak and claw trim. Still scared about what the vet will say about his beak, which is overgrown and looking "shreddy" at the tip. Overgrown beaks can be caused by several things, including microscopic mites, but the cause usually is some type of cancer. Budgies are so interbred they suffer from it.
Just gotta hope. Otherwise he's in great health; he was excited to be traveling again and sang, chirped and called all the way to the vet's office; in an enclosed truck cab he was very loud! We had to tell him to "use an inside voice" several times. :-) Willow just whined piteously, panted and looked distressed.
We are in a different building this year; all the buildings look alike, so that's not much of a problem, we just have to take a different route with our stuff. We used the truck, so could bring the little handcart to carry our contribution to the common area munchies, the suitcase, James's C-PAP machine, the ARTC bag with some little games and my book and cross-stitch and James' magazines, "Fred the traveling pillow," and the laptop. The cart converts from two wheels, like a furniture delivery "truck" to a four-wheeled cart. Very handy. You can tell we're fannish; we always take books and lots of stuff (and we still forgot our hats!).
Very nice ride up, in the low 70s, so not too bad since it has to be spring. :-) We stopped at Nora Mills to top off James' supply of gravy and also got some cornmeal.
» Thursday, April 19, 2007"Ready to Ride and Spread the Alarm..."
Yesterday afternoon a big dumpster was delivered in front of Kristi's house across the street and I'm sure everyone wondered why.
This afternoon about 4:45 p.m. I nearly shot out of my chair when what sounded like a loud explosion came from outside!
I looked outside to discover a man just about to dump a tree limb into the dumpster. Sure enough, the booming explosion noise again.
Evidently they're having a tree removed.
It's still going. Willow thinks its thunder and is either whining at me or barking at the front door, but then every dog in the neighborhood is barking right now. What a chorus!
Sighted Sub...Did Not Sink Same
Remember this 2003 entry where I describe visiting Juliette 484, a Russian submarine berthed in Providence Harbor?
It sank Tuesday night in the noreaster!
There's an article at the Providence Journal website. If you don't have a Projo account, use the address firstname.lastname@example.org and the password bugmenot. (From the nice folks at bugmenot.com.)
There are eight photos of the sub from our vacation starting here.
Angels Dancing on the Head of a Pin
Taking a brief breakmuch work lately, almost like end of fiscal year. Plus with the additional backups we are being required to provide, everything is taking longer. My end users are getting quite frustrated. I do so daydream of a lottery win so I don't have to request more changes for shipping or sole source justifications and have everyone annoyed at me. It gets disheartening to have people disliking you because you have to ask for certain things they don't understand why they have to provide but which I am required to provide. Sometimes I feel like I'm supposed to be getting an accurate count of those angels!
Willow and I had a nice walk yesterday, especially since the sun was not out and it was fairly cool. Today I have to run to Kaiser and get the prescription for my heart pills, so there will be no walk for her today, but she's been getting some exercise by running after the squirrels raiding the bird feeder. I have not been able to distribute the cayenne pepper as I did previously because for some reason the seed had gotten wet. The container it is in was advertised as being waterproof, so I'm a bit ticked. It might be that it was not closed tightly enough before the rain.
I did manage to get a photo of the male cowbird, but haven't had time to post it. Willow and I saw a small flock of three of them, with a starling, yesterday on our walk, so there's a bit of a population. Wish there was a way to warn the other birds about them, but sadly we will have cardinals and mockingbirds and other birds raising cowbird chicks to the detriment of their own babies.
Oh, well, break's over...
By the numbers:
Onesome: One-- or more siblings? ...or just you?
It's just me. Mom and Dad wanted a lot of kids, but Mom had three "misses" before she had me. After that she was too old to have more kids (she had me when she was almost 39 and they advised women in those days not to try again this late due to the risk of Down Syndrome, which back then was called "mongolism").
Twosome: Two-- favorite shows (TV or Movie, or heck, even iPod!) on this season?
Still House. I watched the pilot to Men in Trees, then didn't keep up with it. I saw the pilot to Raines but haven't been able to latch onto it since.
Threesome: Three-- ways to cook hot dogs? That's what the kids tell me. Yes? No? More? I'll spot you the 'boiling water'...
Beats me. I only have hot dogs when I go to Krystal or at cookouts, and then the latter are grilled.
» Tuesday, April 17, 2007"Smart Kids Give Me a A Pain"
But this isn't painful at all: DVD news: Announcement for Voyagers! - The Complete Series
Tip of the hat to Rodney, who should have a blog to link. :-)
» Monday, April 16, 2007Found!
Ever hear a song in the background of some television or radio broadcast and don't know what it is, but like it and wish you did know? Today riding home I found out the name of the driving, lively piece of music that runs under one of my favorite PBS promos: this is the promo called "This Belongs to You" and features people doing different activities while a narrator talks about how America is a nation that re-invents itself every morning. The piece is called "John Dunbar's Theme" and is by John Barry from the Dances With Wolves soundtrack.
Interestingly, GPTV (or GPB, as they are now marking themselves) also uses a quieter theme for some of their program segues; this is part of the same piece of music.
I've never seen Wolves or I guess I would have known that. :-) Thanks to XM's "Escape" channel again...
1. Who do you think is cuter, the host of Survivor, or the host of Amazing Race?
Since I've never watched either, it's hard to tell. The cutest person on television IMHO is Robert Sean Leonard on House.
2. Have you seen any movies in a theater recently?
Nope. Last movie we saw in a movie theatre was the Narnia film. James wanted to see The Astronaut Farmer but we never made it.
3. Do you read manga?
4. For people living in the US: Have you ever traveled outside of the state you were born in? For people living outside of the US: Have you ever traveled outside of your country?
Oh, goodness, yes. Supposedly Rhode Islanders don't like to travel out of Rhode Island, but we always did. I'd been through most of New England in my teens and then in 1975 and 1978 we drove cross country, in 1976 down to Virginia, and one 70s summer ('77? anyway, we went to Disney World before EPCOT even opened) and in February 1983 we drove to Florida. Plus in 1973 we took a bus tour to DC and 1974 to Pennsylvania Dutch country. Since I've lived in Georgia we've driven back to New England and also down to Florida.
5. Do you have a Yahoo! 360 page?
6. How many blogs/online diaries do you have total?
Four blogs (a "regular" blog, a holiday blog, a house blog, and a book blog) and a sadly-neglected Live Journal.
» Sunday, April 15, 2007Real and Reel Headaches
The weather would have been pleasant today if the wind wasn't involved and so many people weren't under the gun with this storm working its way up the coast.
The change in the weather was so severe that I suffered from a headache from Friday afternoon all through yesterday. I managed to make it through "hair day" before the real pain hit. I think it was a combination of barometric pressure and the arthritis in my neck and spine, since the pain radiated from my shoulder and neck all the way around the right side of my head to my right temple, like a huge clutching claw; whatever, I was miserable all afternoon and evening. It hurt less when I had my glasses off, so I read or lay with my eyes closed most of the time. Neither ibuprofin nor Tylenol put a dent in it.
I still have it today, but it is just a dull pull with occasional spasms when I bend over or sneeze and is bearable, although the longer I have my glasses on and am awake the more I can feel it.
The weather has been quite a shock: the high today was 63°F at 2 a.m., plummeting to 43. The front came through in the middle of the night, slamming our bedroom door shut. We went out for breakfast and made stops at Costco and BJs as it got darker and darker and the wind tossed the trees like a terrier shaking a toy.
So we spent the afternoon closeted with the newspaper. I decided a few days ago I had to get through the videotapes I'd recorded here and there in the past few months. I checked them allmy God, when was Hugh Laurie on Letterman? I'd completely forgotten I'd taped it, and then there were the two Christmas specials I recorded off the Atlanta PBS station intending to watch them before the new yearand watched two of the four Nancy Drew movies I had recorded from TCM some time ago (I saw the other two several days ago).
I wonder after watching them all what the Drew fans back in 1938/1939 thought of the Hollywood interpretation of their heroine. The appeal of Nancy, along with the mysteries she solved, is that she was a strong, competent female character in an era when girls were still patted over the head if they had serious thoughts. She was smart, responsible, intelligent, and athletic without losing any of the feminine attributes held so dear.
Bonita Granville actually fit the visual profile of Nancy pretty well, although she was clearly blonde instead of "titian-haired" as portrayed in the novels. Had the scripts written Nancy as "Carolyn Keene" portrayed her, Granville could have carried it off well. But the movie Nancy is disappointing: she has bursts of inspiration, but all is considered "women's intuition," not smarts, as if Warner Brothers couldn't bear to portray an intelligent female character. She mixes "intuition" with silliness and does things her novel counterpart would be embarrassed to do. There's a running "women driver" gag throughout the four films where Nancy either bumps into other cars with her roadster or takes her hands off the wheel when excited. The conscientious Nancy of the books would have been horrified by those eventsnot to mention the sequence where Nancy covers up a murder by talking someone into writing a fake suicide note for the corpse!
And poor Ted Nickerson (changed from "Ned" in the books) is Nancy's fall guy instead of chum and helper. In the course of the films she tricks him into fixing her car for free, gets him stuck in a dress because his clothes are stolen, gets him arrested, traps him in innumerable situations with herhe ends up being the goat all the time.
Carson Drew, Nancy's father, the famous lawyer, puts up with all these shenanigans in the reel versions. In the novels, Nancy is so mature and responsible that he trusts her with important errands. The movie Nancy couldn't be trusted to do anything but get into trouble.
To add even more humorous elements, Warner Brothers tossed aside Hannah Gruen, the wise, faithful housekeeper who had brought up Nancy from the time her mother died, and replaced her with Effie Schneider, who was forever getting into poison ivy or contributing a funny remark.
Probably the saddest element in the four movies is the black character Apollo Johnson in Nancy Drew, Troubleshooter. The character, played by Willie Best, believes in "ha'nts," steals chickens, is lazy, and in general is a textbook version of the idiot Stepin Fetchit African-American character foisted off on the public in movies, books, and radio steries of that era. Even if you can put up with Nancy's film idiocies, this character pretty much ruins a present-day viewing of the movie.
» Saturday, April 14, 2007Wayback
We saw something interesting tonight: GPTV showed the pilot for Are You Being Served? from September 1972. Maybe GPTV has shown it before, but I don't remember ever seeing it. Although it said "BBC Colour" at the end, it was in black and white; perhaps the color copy has been lost like some of the old Doctor Who serials. It indeed started from the beginning, where women's wear moves onto the same floor as men's wear. Interestingly enough, Mr. Grainger, who's a doddering oldster in the series, actually has some backbone in the pilot and takes on Mrs. Slocum.
» Friday, April 13, 2007Taxed
We did the taxes tonight. Had to work on James' computer because TurboTax no longer works with Windows98. (Snobs.) Went a bit mad having to look through the old house paperwork to get the figures needed for the sale of the house reporting portion of the sequence. We made jokes during the closing on this house last year and sale of the old house, too, about all the paperwork, but compared to the pile of papers we had in 1995, last year's signings were a picnic. We also took our $40 telephone credit for the tax Congress put on telephone service during the Spanish-American War and never removed. [eyes roll] The longest thing was putting all the deductions in, because we had donated bits and pieces to Goodwill after we moved.
By the way, BBC America is running a marathon of the new Robin Hood on April 15 under the sobriquet of "Tax-Free Sunday." I love it.
(If you're happy about having until Tuesday, thank Massachusetts. It's Patriots' Day.)
1. Who was your first crush?
On what level? Are you talking childhood, or a more adult relationship. I think my first crush was in first grade. He was a redhead. I was smit. :-) My first actor crush was Don Adams. My first real crush was on a boy named Don whose parents Rudy and Jessie bowled with my parents in a Sunday night bowling league.
2. Are you an introvert or an extrovert?
Introvert. I take after my dad.
3. What is your favorite non-sexual thing you like to do with the love of your life?
Visit history museums!
4. Name one quirky habit your partner does that either annoys you or makes you grin.
The former: stares endlessly at computer games.
5. Do you believe in monogamous relationships?
Well...yeah...I got married, didn't I?
» Thursday, April 12, 2007
From the story book shelves
Onesome: Heroes-- from the movies? Who was your hero in a movie, TV show or book when you were growing up?
Well, Lassie, of course!!!! And Fury and Old Yeller, and most of the other animal stars, when I was small. I also loved Roy Rogers and Sky King and Lucas McCain (the Rifleman). When I turned nine I had a new hero, Maxwell Smart, and also Gallegher the newsboy-turned-reporter from the stories about him on Walt Disney's Wonderful World of Color.
Twosome: and-- while we're at it: any 'new' heroes in any shows or books lately?
Oh, I dunno, I'm pretty fond of Harry Dresden from the Jim Butcher books. And of course there is Gregory House, who is an ass, but an interesting ass. Plus there's always Hermione Granger, who makes it "okay" for a girl to be smart.
Threesome: Villains-- can be "bad guys" or just plain scary; which one scaried the heck out of you as a kid? (No flashbacks, please; just go for a bad guy if you'd prefer!)
When I was very little it was the Wicked Witch from The Wizard of Oz. I'm not sure how old I was the first time my folks allowed me to stay up to see it (at that time it was on CBS yearly at six or 6:30 p.m. on the first Sunday night after the New Year, and ended at eight or afterward, which was wayyyyy after my bedtime), but the witch scared the daylights out of me. I woke up screaming all that night and wasn't allowed to watch Oz again for years. (Oddly, it wasn't any of the famous scenes, like "surrender Dorothy" or melting that I had nightmares about, it was her being able to see someone in her crystal ball. That just freaked the hell out of me.)
Another movie I remember that scared the daylights out of me was something called The Good Humor Man, a comedy. The hero sold ice cream but got involved with bad guys. At one point in the story, they shoved him inside his ice cream truck and later he was found, frozen stiff as a board. Of course this was a comedy and he recovered, just like in a cartoon, but this gave me nightmares for weeks.
As you can guess, I never actually watched horror movies after all that.
Tip of the hat to Vampry.
Not as easy as you might think.
1. Where is your cell phone? Purse.
2. Describe your boyfriend/girlfriend/husband/wife/lover? Snuggly.
3. Your hair? Brown.
4. Your mother? Dead.
5. Your father? Also.
6. Your favorite item? Books.
7. Your dream last night? Snakes.
8. Your favorite drink? Milk.
9. Your dream car? Own.
10. The room you are in? Living.
11. Your ex? None.
12. Your fear? Fire.
13. What do you want to be in 10 years? Secure.
14. Who did you hang out with last night? Family.
15. What you're not? Skinny.
19. The last thing you did? Type.
20. What are you wearing? Sweats.
21. Your favorite book? Centennial.
22. The last thing you ate? Oatmeal.
24. Your mood? Sleepy.
25. Your friends? Great.
26. What are you thinking about right now? Nap.
27. Your car? Garaged.
28. What are you doing at the moment? Responding.
29. Your summer? Sweltering.
30. Your relationship status? Safe.
31. What is on your tv? HGTV.
32. When is the last time you laughed? Today.
33. Last time you cried? Sunday.
34. School? Finished.
» Wednesday, April 11, 2007How Can So Many Memories Fit Into One Little Book?
Ever open a book and find you've opened your past as well? Check out A Cozy Nook to Read In.
Speaking of Chocolate Bunnies...
He sat for quite a while, but I didn't get a photo of a newcomer to the bird feeder, a brown-headed cowbird.
We also had a grackle a couple of weeks ago.
Get Color is one of the newer (at least to me) decorating series on HGTV that I like. The "gimmick" with this one is that the hostess, Jane Lockhart, has a color wheel palette from which she asks her clients, usually people with chiefly white or beige decorations, to pick the colors for the room she is redecorating. The color wheel, shown below, doesn't just show the primary, secondary, and tertiary colors. Lockhart asks the clients about some pleasing color scheme they likethe beach, ethnic heritage, a vacation memory, a favorite seasonand puts examples from that theme next to the colors on the wheel in small boxes.
Today the folks had a memory of their honeymoon, spent on the beach. So opposite the orange were scalloped shells with a terra cotta color, blue mussels with the blue, green beach grass, purple beach glass, beach sand for the yellow, etc. A week or two ago, the gentleman having the redecoration done was Scottish and loved golf. His purple was that of thistles, the red from a tartan, green from the grass of Scottish golf courses, yellow from the tees. I just love the way they pick one basic color, usually for the walls, and then go from there, showing the differences between different "looks" engendered by colors from different parts of the color wheel, using a computer to color the various elements.
Our couple today already had the yellow as the floor (honey-colored hardwoods) and chose terra cotta for the walls (the shells), a neutral color for highlights (from the white sand), and two different shades of blue (from the sea and the sky). When they got through it truly looked like a seashore sanctuary without using stereotypical shells and other nautical regalia.
I wonder what our color wheel would look like: perhaps the orange from a maple leaf, the yellow of marigolds, the red of sumac, the purple from fall asters...
Work was an absolute zoo yesterday. At one point I was juggling four things at once. One of those days where you want to scream "I have had enough of this!" and toss breakable objects at someone. The worst part was an online course in the use of the Government Visa card. In the past these have been in person, but they have changed to online. In general I like the online things because you can do it at your own pace, stop if you need to and take care of work, and not have to drop away from everything you're doing. This, however, was done like a lecture, with talking heads. Also, I usually go to a refresher course, where they tell you the updates to the procures you have been doing already. With the online course you have to do it from the beginning, no matter how experienced you are. It's like going back and being taught the alphabet and counting 1-10 (or the VENN diagram recap every year you had algebra). Eyes-glazing-over time.
Today it is raining and too conducive to sleep. I am busy puzzling out why, when I send something to print, it will only print out after I have completely rebooted the computer. Kind of a delay in the proceedings, to be sure.
The exterminator has been and gone. I told them we had pets, so they are using an organic compound with plant products. It is mostly rosemary, thyme and very strongly clove (the outside of the house now smells like Beeman's chewing gumI keep waiting for Chuck Yeager to call me "Ridley" and ask me for a stick [ala The Right Stuff]). He also put granules outside, but because it is wet, is not sure they will "take." I'm supposed to call back if they don't. The exterminator is what my mom would term "a hot sketch."
He also has good taste, because he darn near drooled over the library. :-) Willow barked at him until she realized he was good for a pet and a scritch. Went right up to him and shoved her head under his hand.
» Monday, April 09, 2007Nifty!
Season 5 of The Waltons is coming out May 8. I've never collected the other seasons since I knew I wouldn't have time to watch the eps, but I do want fifth season because it has my two favorite episodes, "The Best Christmas" (the best of the series' Christmas episodes) and "The Achievement" (John-Boy finally gets his book published). Plus included is Curt and Mary Ellen's wedding (with one of the best scene cuts I've ever seen) and John-Boy inadvertantly being present at the Hindenburg disaster, not to mention a really strange episode involving Elizabeth and her fear of a ferris wheel.
» Sunday, April 08, 2007Eastery Goodness
Dessert before dinner, since we had Bruster's coupons.
A quiet afternoon: James worked on some models, I read the paper and watched Here Comes Peter Cottontail and The Easter Promise.
Grilled lamb with mint jelly (yum!), carrots and potatoes (darn, forgot the crescent rolls) while watching "The End of the World" on Doctor Who (these are so much better without Sci-Fi's endlessly repetitive commercials, popups, edits, and bugs!).
Of course, we did have to go to WalMart, since we discovered this morning that when James killed the dispenser, he killed the only shampoo we had in the house. But we did turn up bulk Sweet'n'Low, which is getting more and more difficult to find. At least it wasn't crowded.
» Saturday, April 07, 2007Interesting Quote
This is from an article in "Wide Awake" magazine from 1889."I don't know what is the matter with the young people nowadays, but I rarely find one among them who spells well. I advertise for graduates from the public schools, and I require the diploma as a reference...so I know I am getting what I advertise for. Now they surely ought to be well grounded in English, but I don't believe I find one really good speller among a hundred applicants."
A Chill in the Air
We are setting records! It was only in the 40s today and we are supposed to break the low temperature record tonight with 28°F and perhaps tomorrow night, too.
It was a glorious day, although the wind has been a bit much. With the cold came the wind and played havoc with the Easter decorations on the porch. One rocking chair contained a cute pink Easter bunny and three plastic eggs. I was constantly on my own Easter egg hunt as the wind kept lofting the eggs in the side of the yard. James rounded them up a few times, too. All the plastic eggs they make now seem to have little holes in them (I guess to string them up in garlands), so I tied the three eggs together, tied the trio to the bunny, and tied the bunny to the chair.
Of course now the wind has calmed down!
James had to work today, so it was quite lonesome. However, I was still busy with errands, including a bank stop and a totally unexpected visit to Home Depot. We bought a shampoo dispenser from them a few months ago and last night James' elbow managed to dislodge it from its mount and it fell and cracked open. I like having the dispenserthe ledges in the shower are too narrow for big shampoo bottlesso bought another. Then there was the milk run, on which I managed to find a birthday present for James, and bought carrots and crescent rolls for Easter dinner tomorrow. And a successful visit to Linens'n'Things for a little table to go with the chairs in the yard.
Oh, yeah, and I scrubbed the master bath. What fun.
» Friday, April 06, 2007Dogs and Other Critters
I sprayed on the side and under the fridge and under the stove again last night and again was up with James to mop up the floor. I didn't see any live critters when I mopped, but did kill two later in the morning and just found two dead now.
I surrender. I called the folks that have our termite coverage and they're coming over next Wednesday. They will use organic insecticides because of the fids, but that will be "green" as well, so that makes me happy. I'd rather spend the money and have peace of mind. Shredded sanity is no fun.
Meanwhile, I have the Ortho backup. Should they get on the counters or the stove, the lady at the exterminator says I can spray them with...Windex! Apparently they and the ammonia don't get along.
I've always wondered if I simply got my insect aversion from my mom and godmother and a whole horde of Italian relatives, but I was reading Gladys Taber's Especially Father for the first time and came upon these lines: "Nothing probably compares with the feeling a New Englander has about any form of insect. It is a sin to have so much as a small spider in the attic..." So I come by it regionally, too. :-)
I did some research on the web. They are not german roaches, but brown-banded ones, and I found the incubation period for the eggs on several websites. They definitely must have come from the bag of birdseed that I bought at Fred's discount store, since it's just about fifty days since I saw three near the bag and killed them. There must have been others who "fled for the hills," e.g. the nice warm space under the fridge and the stove.
Also arranged for the fids to go to the vet. Willow will have a bath and have her claws clipped. She should [sarcasm alert] love that.
I took Willow out after I got home from the post office/Michael's. The folks next door are fixing up their yard with a nice wooden playground set for their little girl, and they are getting help from one set of grandparents. The elder members of the family have a Doberman with them, and when Willow went to the fence to stick her nose under at Tyler the Weimaraner, the Doberman nose was there, too, and he broke out in big bold barks. Wil's really brave with a fence between her and another dog; she play bowed and bounced along the fenceline, but the fur was erect all the way down her spine and as I led her away she gave angry huffs like she does to the Dalmatians. "Imagine the nerve of that guy," she seems to be saying.
"Wait 'til the Weekend
Monday was magical because...
It was? It was rather frustrating, actually, because a few things I thought I had finished were not actually finished.
Tuesday, what a tiring day, because...
Had to get up at 6 a.m. again and face the fluorescent lights.
My Wednesday was wild & crazy because...
Ants showed up in the kitchen, stalking a piece of dog food left behind the baker's rack.
Thursday made me think about...
Calling the exterminator, which I did on Friday. And sleeping.
Friday is the most fun because of...
No purchase orders! No purchase orders!
» Thursday, April 05, 2007Taking Mommy For A Walk
Certainly warmer out than I expected, although of course not stifling. I certainly didn't need the scarf and hat.
We had a longer walk today because when we got to the corner Willow wanted to keep going in the direction she was already headed in, so we walked just a little on Smyrna-Powder Springs Road toward the Baptist church. However, there is no sidewalk and the lane is very narrow; cars coming around the corner behind us had to swing over the dividing line. So I crossed the street; the lane on that side is wider, so there is actually a bit of a shoulder. We walked there until we reached the opposite perimeter of Trellis Oaks, then turned back and did the rest of the neighborhood walk.
A half-hour well spent and now back to work.
Baby, It's Cold Outside...and Crawly Inside
Here it is 12:30 p.m. and it's still only 48°F out, with a wind chill. It was 37 when we got up this morning. The wind is quite brisk; it keeps blowing the plastic Easter eggs I have as part of the porch decorations off the rocking chair and onto the lawn! From my desk I can hear the banner flapping in the breeze. I'm in nice comfy sweats and looking forward to our walk.
I didn't sleep well after yesterday's ant invasion, so the dark bedrooms are a continual temptation. We had another problem come up while I was cleaning up after the ant spraying: it seems we also have little baby german roaches. These are mostly coming out from under the refrigerator and the stove. I'm quite flummoxed. I don't get paper bags from the grocery store because they often have roach eggs in them and we don't keep cardboard boxes in the kitchen.
However, a Friday or two ago we did a stock-up at BJ's and brought the groceries home in a cardboard box. There might have been some german roaches in there. The only other time I've seen them in the house is after I brought a bag of wild bird seed home from Fred's, the discount store, but that was over a month ago. There were two or three of them around the bag, which I had left in the dining room because it had been raining that day. I killed them and immediately put the bag outside and did not see any more. Could some others have escaped notice and gone to ground under the appliances and suddenly bred now? These are certainly babies: they're smaller than the ants and the grown ones are larger.
Anyway, I locked Wil in her crate last night for safekeeping and sprayed under both fridge and stove, as well as on the baseboards, then got up with James this morning and before he emerged to take Willow for her walk, scrubbed down the floor again in those locations. Found about eight dead roaches and later one live one moving a bit slowly.
Very aggravating. I hate bugs. Certainly has me out of sorts to enjoy the nice weather.
(Arrrgh. As if we aren't having enough problems with bugs in the kitchen.)
Onesome: Bugs-- Bunny? Roadrunner? The Jetsons? What was (is?) your favorite cartoon series?
Jonny Quest! Adventure! Exotic locations! Dr. Quest! (What can I say? I like geeks and redheads.)
Twosome: on the-- Waterfront? Classic movies too: which is your all time favorite? Nope, it has to be at least ten years old! (You can cheat with a holiday favorite if you'd like <g>...)
Oh, dear...what do I say? Prisoner of Zenda with Ronald Colman...or The Bishop's Wife?
Threesome: "Windshield-- wipers slappin'/keepin'...", now there's a song lyric! How many songs can you name with those words in them? Go ahead, use the net. Which one is the most upbeat? We're all about information here!
Nope, not going to search the web for windshield wiper songs.
What a Flap!
» Wednesday, April 04, 2007Another Drunken Driver Victim
"We're havin' a cold front,
Your Favorite Television Cliche
Or plotline, here at Television Tropes & Idioms. Quite a bit to check out here, or you can add your own.
Anything To Get Cool
We saw this on the news last night. Loved the expression on the coyote's face.
Coyote a Cool Customer at Chicago Sandwich Shop
Although it's a little odd the way he just walked in to a place full of people! They really aren't fearful anymore.
When I'm working at home Willow usually spends most of the day lying on the stairs or near my feet.
Now that I have the dining room blocked off so she won't go near the kitchen until I've had a chance to clean the floor, all she wants to do is go back in there. I've put water out for her to drink (she doesn't get fed until suppertime) and I even spread the fleece that is usually in her crate on the floor.
She has just settled on the top step with a big sigh...
The Patter of Little Feet -- Mark 2
James was in the kitchen having started breakfast and I was approaching the doorway to the kitchen when I looked down on the nice bright white woodwork...
ONE STORY OFF THE GROUND AND THE LITTLE BUGGERS STILL GET IN.
Yes, we have ants again. (I'd say I can't believe this, but my supervisor's office at work has ants. And we're on the third floor.)
Yep, they'd come in through the back door and were marching along the baseboard until they reached the door, turned the corner around it and were under the baker's rack, then turning the corner heading for the dog's bowl, which was empty. They were mostly gathered under the trash can. On Monday I thought I saw a dark bug scuttling away from her food bowl, but I couldn't tell what it was. There was nothing crawling near her food or water yesterday when I refilled her water. They were probably making their way there by then, though.
I didn't catch any on the baseboard near the pantry, but did find some under the cart, hiding under James diet A&W and Coke Zero and as we were pulling the stuff away from the wall a few came wandering out midfloor. Argh! So I have sprayed all the baseboard where I've seen them, and around the door, where they were coming in. It's too wet on the deck to spray right now.
Bother. Now I feel itchy...
» Monday, April 02, 2007"Waiting for Daddy"
1. Where did you go on your last vacation?
2. Would you go there again? Why or why not?
Yes, after the American History museum is open again. What a disappointment! (And I sure wouldn't stay in the AmeriSuites Dulles again.)
3. How many vacations do you take in one year?
James only gets a vacation after seven months' work, so once. Our trip to Helen, GA, and our Dragoncon weekend is like a mini-vacation, though.
4. Where would you REALLY like to go on your next vacation, if money was no issue, and how long would you stay?
Oh, at least a month in Great Britain and Ireland.
5. Do you put a little money aside each week (or month) to save up for your vacation?
No. James does, though; he saves his change.
May This Mystery Be Solved Someday?
Very interesting about the shortwave messages!
Was Amelia Earhardt a Doomed Castaway?
» Sunday, April 01, 2007Shopping and Sleeplessness
It was one of those weekends where I felt all we did was shopping for groceries.
We had a second night of sleeplessness. Willow barked again all Friday night/Saturday morning as she had the night before. It was her "fly" bark, but there is no fly here. Our neighbors tend to leave their porch lights on all night, so maybe she is seeing some type of movement or shadow from outside.
So we weren't up and out until late in the morning. Had the usual trip to the hobby shop, then we dropped in JoAnn to get something I needed for a framed item.
We also bought new chairs for the yard and a new side table for the deck using our Linens'n'Things coupons. We didn't see any of the dark green chairs like they had last year (the replacement seems to be bilious lime green ones), despite trips to two different LNT stores, so we got the beige ones, and a blue table to match the blue chairs on the deck, which are at present green. The deck was a gritty, grimy mess of pine pollen on Saturday. I didn't even want to touch anything.
After supper at Spaghetti Warehouse, we apparently suffered from a spasm of insanity, because we made the needed trip to WalMart, which we usually save for Sunday morning when there are fewer people. It was aggravating because many of the things we needed were not there; the shelves with my oatmeal, for instance, were practically stripped. But it was the lines that were the usual annoyance: ten and twelve people in each line and only six open.
So we patiently waited the time as did the people in the line next to us. In front of me was a woman who looked like she was with the man and little girl in front of her. But when they checked out, she did not go with them. Instead, she turned around to the line next to us and motioned to two women who had a cart crammed full of stuff!
James said aloud "Well, I like that!" and I could hear the people in the line behind us muttering; there were at least five other carts back there. The three ladies looked around and then one of the ladies with the cart said to us, "You have less than us, go ahead."
The elderly lady behind us asked us, "Were they in this line?" and James told her no, they had been in the line next to us. But they insisted they had been in our line; the lady in front of us was standing in line for that purpose. Uh-huh. I think what they did was they couldn't decide which line was going to move faster. So one lady got in our line and the other two with the cart got into the other line and they figured whoever got to the cashier first would take the turn.
Maybe it would have been okay if there were only a couple of folks in line, or if the ladies with the full cart had been in line and invited a friend in the other line with one or two items to join them. But I thought this "well, we'll wait in both lines" was just plain rude.
Thankfully, Willow only barked a few times last night and we could catch up on a little sleep. We hit Trader Joe's today for our Easter dinner (lamb) and stopped at Walgreen's to pick up a couple of Easter chocolate eggs. Last year they had several different choices of Russell Stover sugarless Easter candies. They had absolutely none this year except for marshmallow eggs.
When we got home I took the hose and blasted the rest of the pine pollen off the front porch so that I could put up the Easter decorations. James made a wire hook from two coat hangers and hauled the hose nozzle up to the deck and completely cleaned it off. The cover for the grill was especially bad; the dust had gotten thick and clotted into the folds. We had had some rain while we had brunch and went out to Trader Joe's, but not enough to rinse the thick yellow from under the eaves and the rubber mat, so he took care of that, too.
So the porch and various points in the living/dining room are now "Eastery."
Meanwhile, the Doctor has made a triumphant return to Georgia Public Television, and, as their commercials assert, it's about time! It will be nice to see the episodes intact and not interrupted by inane commercials. As a bonus, they are showing the Doctor Who Confidential documentaries at the conclusion of the episode, albeit, I believe, in an edited version.
Plus a new Dresden Files. A pleasant end to the day.