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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» Wednesday, January 31, 2007
You scored as Cultural Creative. Cultural Creatives are probably the newest group to enter this realm. You are a modern thinker who tends to shy away from organized religion but still feels as if there is something greater than ourselves. You are very spiritual, even if you are not religious. Life has a meaning outside of the rational.
Cultural Creative
88%
Existentialist
75%
Postmodernist
50%
Romanticist
50%
Idealist
50%
Fundamentalist
25%
Modernist
25%
Materialist
6%
What is Your World View?
created with QuizFarm.com

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New Visitor to the Feeder
I saw a new bird at the feeder this morning and couldn't identify it: grey with yellow spots near its shoulder and also a big yellow spot between the wings. The "bird guy" in the Atlanta Journal, Charles Seabrook, was talking about a winter feeder visitor called a "yellow rumped warbler" in his column just this Sunday, so I hunted up that section for a photo. It didn't look like our visitor, so I consulted the bird book.

Aha. The photo in the paper was of a male. This was a female.

(Hm. According to a birds website, it may not be a female. This says "winter form". Anyway, this is the bird I saw, whatever sex.)

Interesting: also according to this site those "goldfinches" I've been seeing may be pine warblers. (Well, we do have pines in our yard. LOL!)

Also noticed that our wren is a "Carolina wren."

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It's Difficult to Accept the Moniker...
..."it's just a bad cold" when I've just had a coughing fit so bad that I almost started to vomit.

Can't take more cough syrup for another 90 minutes.

However, I can work, so that I'm doing.

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» Tuesday, January 30, 2007
Oh, Dear God, It Looks Like They're Doing It Again
Well, this page has the description of the story accurately: The Dark is Rising movie.

For folks that haven't read the books, or don't like that type of novel, this is a five-book British fantasy series that leans heavily on British and Welsh myths. The main character in this particular story is eleven-year-old Will Stanton, who is from a close, loving British family.

However, the following is apparently a description of the characters they are casting in the movie. I say "apparently" because although this is all over the net and supposedly has been corroborated, it reads as if it were written by someone with a poor command of English (or a badly-educated schoolchild) and the repeated "American" seems like overkill (but may be scornful emphasis). (Come to think of it, change a few things: swap Will's and Gwen's sex, lower the age of Robin and Paul, and take away Max and James, and you've pretty much the characters in Disney's—not Madeleine L'Engle's—version of A Wrinkle in Time.) However, I wouldn't put it past the production company:
• Will Stanton: 13. Will is an American who lives in England with his family. Will is bullied and/or ignored by his older brothers, and...is gloomily convinced that he's doomed to be a bookish, gawky oddball at the bottom of the pecking order. However, he is actually an innately cool kid who has not yet grown into his coolness.
• Professor John Stanton: 45-55. Will's father. Professor Stanton is an American physicist and college professor and he's paid a price for it. He is emotionally cool, authoritative and very remote from his children.
• The Rider: 30-40 years old man with icy malevolence who is masquerading as a simple village doctor when in fact he is an agent of Evil.
• Mrs. Mary Stanton: 40-50. She is the American mother of the Stanton six children. She works hard at protecting her husband and her family. She is similar to her husband, not emotionally available to her kids and is very distant
• Gwen Stanton: Will's younger sister, Gwen is an American, neat, upright girl of about 8 or 9. Unlike her brothers, who treat Will with amiable contempt, Gwen looks up to Will, loves him and dotes on him.
• Max Stanton: 19 or 20, an edgy young man with piercings and tattoos. Will's older brother. Max is the American, bohemian of the family. He is always inclined to question his father's authority.
• James Stanton: 17. Will's older American brother. James is mature, muscular and good looking, the object of admiring eyes. Busily looking for a girlfriend, James barely interacts with Will - especially when Maggie Barnes becomes the object of his affection.
• Robin Stanton & Paul Stanton: 15, Male. A pair of grungy American adolescents, Robin and Paul are identical or fraternal twin brothers, and they're still at the "horseplay" stage of development. Always ready to tease Will about his bookish ways, always willing to reinforce his fears of being a gawky oddball, Robin and Paul tease and bully and sometimes blow off Will.
If this is true, I see my rant from four and a half years ago, when I sounded off about Disney's version of A Ring of Endless Light, is still valid. One can't have a supportive family. The adolescent hero always must be rebelling against his elders because they have no feelings or are restrictive. Plus instead of a warm English family we get what sounds like a crass stereotypical American family. You would have thought the success of Narnia and the Harry Potter films would have gotten it into the thick heads of Hollywood producers that juvenile heroes of American childrens' films DO NOT HAVE TO BE AMERICAN to be interesting.

Unfortunately, I'm inclined to believe this rot is true after watching the previews for the upcoming version of Bridge to Terabithia, which is a touching novel about being different and true friendships and which, apparently from the commercials I've seen, has been turned into a fantasy epic with monsters and creatures. (Yes, yes, I've heard that the monsters and creatures are actually the children's perceptions of the troubles that beset them in the real world translated into fantasy terms that they overcome so that they may overcome their actual problems. It's a psychological thing, you see.) The book didn't need this fantasy rot to tell its story and tell it well. Ergo, the writer(s) of the film is apparently not up to telling the excellent story of the book and instead must rely on a fantasy crutch to do so instead. How nice.

(Hmn. Hollywood has done this before, in a little obscure film they made almost seventy years ago, to some success. You might have heard of it. 1939. The Wizard of Oz. However, Oz was always a fairy tale. Terabithia is about real life.)

So I'll be interested to hear more about this project and if all this horrified speculation is true. But I fear the news will not be happy...

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I'll Take the Fifth Now
I've been slowly working my way through the Get Smart! DVD set and finally, today, have come to fifth season.

If you remember when Get Smart1 was on the network, NBC cancelled it at the end of its fourth season. The wedding of Max and 99 temporarily elevated the ratings, but then they began to drag again. Television, as always, runs in cycles and the spy craze cycle was pretty much over. The Girl from UNCLE had failed, The Man from UNCLE was over by the time Get Smart! left NBC, and various other small spy series had failed.

CBS, however, which was trying to reinvent inself after many years of being a "rural network," with shows like The Beverly Hillbillies, Petticoat Junction, and Green Acres (they didn't totally toss out the rural shows until several years later), picked up Get Smart! for a fifth season. They tinkered with the theme song and credits, and brought in another new wrinkle: the Smarts as parents.

The "dom-com" coming to the "smart" (forgive the pun) urban spoof pretty much killed it.

I have at least one friend who told me he didn't want to buy the entire Get Smart! set because he didn't want fourth or fifth season. I liked the series so much I could put up with fifth season, especially with the extras. The only advantage to fifth season when it aired was that CBS switched the series to Friday, where I could see it in my own living room rather than behind the counter at the bowling alley on Saturday night. Otherwise, fifth season was a mess as far as I was concerned. Look, I know Robert Karvalas was Don Adams' cousin and Larrabee was fine in small doses, but in fifth season it seemed to be more and more Larrabee doing more and more stupid things.

Then there were Max and 99's twins, who, after their birth, never even got names and identities. They were an increasingly unweildy prop that got pushed to the background unless a humorous situation, like the Chief and Larrabee babysitting, presented itself. The concept actually could have worked if they had focused a little more on the balance of being parents/being spies, as in Undercover Blues.

(In fact, now that I think of it, they could have done something that balanced the stories, and we could have had Max and 99 on missions without worrying about the twins. In first season they introduced the spies' retirement home. They could have hired an retired spy as a loveable, maybe eccentric, but capable regular babysitter without pushing the character too far to the forefront. Then Max and 99 would have had a safe place for the kids, they could go off on missions without being accused of being bad parents, and they could have explored the concept a bit more.)

Of course, this wouldn't have taken care of the quality of the scripts deteriorating, but it might have helped. [wry grin] Probably the worst Get Smart! episode ever written is, naturally, from fifth season: "Hello Columbus, Goodbye America."

On the other hand, now that I'm watching fifth season again for the first time since Nickelodeon ran "Maximum Smart" so many years ago, and comparing them to what's passing for sitcoms now...

...well, let's say they're looking more like Oscar material. (Okay...would you believe Emmy material?)

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[eyes cross]
Boy, they weren't kidding about "may make you drowsy." And I only took one teaspoon!

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Monday Madness

1. Do you make New Year's resolutions? If so, what is your most important one?

Used to when I was a kid, but haven't in years. Too busy living.

2. Easter is coming. Many Christians give up something for Lent. Do you give something up for any reason (or season)? What is it this year?

I haven't given up something for Lent in years. I remember in school kids used to give up something they didn't like. My mother said it didn't work that way. :-) Which is why I never got to give up spinach for Lent. LOL.

3. Do you watch the Super Bowl? If so, do you watch it with a group? If not, what do you do while the game is on? Anything special?

I've never watched the game, even when with a group gotten together for that purpose. The commercials maybe, the game, no.

4. Would you miss Monday Madness if it stopped permanently?

Yes, I would. Is there something you're not telling us?

5. Name at least one theme for MM questions. Share at least one question for that theme.

How about crafts or hobbies? Or pets? Or favorite books? (Anything but "If they made a movie of your life, who would play you?" and "If you had a band, what kind of band would it be?")

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I Hab a Code
That's what "upper respiratory infection" is, anyway.

Mine's just dug in for the duration.

Actually, I'm glad I don't have a sinus infection or bronchitis since after two different drug reactions I'm not really eager to play the "try out this antibiotic" game again.

So I have "Fluticasone" for my nose (the doctor looked at my throat and said he could actually see the drainage—ew) and "Cheratussin" for my cough. The latter has codeine in it and the pharmacist said, "Don't drive while you're taking this." Oh...joy. The side of the bottle is ominous: "May cause dizziness. May cause drowsiness." The paper included even more so, with a list of allergic reactions you could have. I remember when I was never afraid of these things. ::growl::

Maybe I should just take one teaspoonful instead of two right now, just in case, until James gets home? A friend of mine has rather violent allergic reactions—the "throat is swollen shut; call 911" variety—and I worry having one of those. One thing I do not want to do in my life is end up like one of Dr. House's intubated patients. [wry grin]

Bother.

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» Monday, January 29, 2007
I Spoke Too Soon
There were four bluebirds at the feeder a few minutes ago, two males and two females. How lovely!

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Urgh
The doctor's office is so busy they can't get me in until tomorrow. Apparently they're slammed, according to the advice nurse. She said if I'm taking the Mucinex, my regular Claritin, trying to drink water and taking analgesics when I feel achy, I've exhausted my OTC capabilities.

This morning on top of everything else, I have a sinus headache. Urgh. Think I'll go lie down again.

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» Sunday, January 28, 2007
Oh, the Weather Outside is Breezy
Rather an understatement, as it barely hit 40°F today and the wind is blowing from 10-20 mph. Even the big garrison flags on different businesses are snapping and straining at their ropes. Our little flag outside has evidently seen one too many windstorm in the past few weeks; I notice as I look outside that it has several frayed strings on the far and top edges.

I made sure I went out on the deck to refill the bird feeder and put a new suet cake up; the birds will need that energy tonight, as it's supposed to drop to 19. The first fellow who always comes to our feeder these days is a handsome titmouse. I love his big black shoebutton eyes!

I'm not sure what our total bird population is, but we have at least one titmouse, several chickadees, goldfinches (at least three), white-breasted nuthatches (at least two), brown-headed nuthatches (at least four), wrens, mourning doves (lots), sparrows, pygmy woodpeckers, a red-headed woodpecker, and when it gets warmer, bluebirds.

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Bother...
Coughing half the night. I'm calling the doctor tomorrow to see if I can get an appointment.

I didn't want my work to fall behind, so James and I drove to the office so I could place the orders I had already done on my team leader's desk. Turned out she was there familiarizing herself with the work. She took the orders out of my hand, said, "I'll scan these for you; you go home!"

I was sounding pretty wheezy at that point. Apparently I'm not the only one that's sick, either.

God, I hate going to the doctor...

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» Saturday, January 27, 2007
Terrific
I updated to New Blogger tonight. After a song and dance and next month's rent I can get into Blogger via Internet Explorer. I can't get in through Firefox. I log on and the logon screen pops up again and again and again, reloading into infinity. Pffft! I hate IE. Microslop slop.

[Update: the darn thing finally quit flipping at me and said I didn't have cookies enabled. I did so. I finally had to go into options and manually tell Firefox to accept cookies from the New Blogger site. Duh.]

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Kiafest January Sales Event Commercial
The one with the car salesmen singing "So Long, Farewell" to the automobiles.

The low rumbling you hear in the background of this one is not a bass boost. It's Richard Rogers and Oscar Hammerstein II whirling in their graves.

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Creeping Crud Continues
Still stuffy and coughy (hm, were those two of the dwarfs Disney turned down?). Slept as late as possible. Doing a bit of laundry while James is at the IPMS meeting, scrubbing down the shower stall, and rearranging a little more in the craft room. Finally decanted the little battery-powered sewing machine Mom had in the attic. Looks like she tried it out before removing the batteries; it sews pretty well. No instructions with it, though.

I've spent most of the afternoon working with floppy disks. I've had the disks from vacation piled on one of my computer speakers; James was trying to get some photos off them this morning, so I figured it was time to get the disks cleared and sorted on the hard disk. I also cleared off some of the disks I have been using to take house pics. I had more of these disks in my desk storage cabinet which goes under my monitor, and for some reason checked them, although I assumed they were all blank. Yeah, I know the "assume" saying. About half were blank, the other half had house photos. I also discovered what happened to our missing "trip to Helen" pics from December 2005. Sheesh.

Anyway, that's all done.

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» Friday, January 26, 2007
So I'm Dosed...
...with Mucinex and swathed in Vicks Vapo-Rub and eating oranges.

I think I'll watch the extras disk on the third season Get Smart set and read Our Davie Pepper. Wheeze...

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Needed: Sealskin Coat
Wonderful. I couldn't fall asleep last night because every time I breathed the raw spot in my throat was tickled and I would cough.

This morning I have what the doctor always terms "a productive cough." Translation: When I cough I bark like a seal.

But I don't have a fever. I haven't had a fever since I had my hysterectomy.

So when I get up the breath it's time for me to slog to CVS or Walgreens for some Mucinex. I can't have anything prescription until I've been unsuccessfully on OTC for a week. (Frankly, I don't blame Kaiser. I saw a feature on Today yesterday about drug-resistant bacteria that would curl your hair.)

Meanwhile maybe I'll read Thurber's "Seal in the Bedroom" or read/watch The White Seal. [wry g]

(Bother. There goes Hair Day tomorrow. I'm not going to risk spreading this to anyone.)

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» Thursday, January 25, 2007
A Frustrating Day
I was already headachy and sinus-clogged, but put in the requisite phone calls and sent and received the requisite e-mails. I had to reboot the system at least once because I pulled up Outlook and half the letters were gone. It was the craziest thing; bits of the screen were just gone. All the other applications looked fine!

This was apparently a sign that something was going wrong because, since the system logs you off after fifteen minutes of activity, I logged off at lunch time. Instead of eating I took three ibuprofin and crawled under a fleece blanket for the duration, then awoke to the nagging of the alarm clock. I tried to log back in.

In fact I tried every five minutes for the next 90 minutes. When I finally did get in, there was an e-mail saying the intranet had been down. No kidding! :-) We usually lose the mail server at the office four to five times a day for several minutes at the time, but this has been the longest crash in a while.

At 4:30, just as I was sending an e-mail attachment to a potential vendor, my internet connection kicked me off. So I remained working until six instead of 5:30 to make up for the interruption.

So I'm feeling rather cheated out of the time I had to work—and the ibuprofin is wearing off with a vengeance. Dammit, I was so happy that I hadn't had a cold since we moved and then Tuesday afternoon this thing moved in. If I end up with an infection, what the heck is Kaiser going to prescribe for me? I've had reactions to the last three medicines they've prescribed for my "lower respiratory infection."

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More Photos...
...in Autumn Hollow (and some redone ones in the "Wishing for Snowflakes" entry).

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Thursday Threesome

Off the wall!

::Plaid Kittens Attack!::

Onesome: Plaid-- Yes? No? Wouldn't even consider it? Makes the outfit? Makes terrible wallpaper?

Plaid is okay for blankets and throws. I remember one of my history professors used to wear bright red plaid pants. He was thin and they still looked hideous. But...it was the 70s...what can I say?

Twosome: Kittens-- Cutest things in the world? Creatures from another planet? Things other people have?

Almost cutest things in the world, but something other people have. My cat allergy is pretty acute. I can put up with the dog dander and the feather allergies, but cats in prolonged doses are beyond both James and I. Sneezing and wheezing becomes the issue of the day.

Threesome: Attack!-- of the Killer Tomatoes! Okay, what's your vote for the worst movie title of all time?

Gad, I don't know. I don't watch many bad movies. When I catch one, I usually blot it from my mind as quickly as possible.

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Tiresome...
Last week was fine, this week I seem to have a stinking headcold and a sore throat. So my sleep has been meager, even these two work at home days, and I feel like a dishrag after a party. C'est le vie and all that. At least I can plug on here and it is reasonably comfortable without having to carry a pharmacopia with me or be tucked up in bed.

But tomorrow's my compressed schedule day off and boy, am I hoping I can sleep. I don't want to go to Michaels or JoAnn or anywhere, just hibernate with aspirin and cold or hot drinks.

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» Wednesday, January 24, 2007
Those Little Things...
...in Autumn Hollow.

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» Tuesday, January 23, 2007
Monday Madness

Started to answer these yesterday and realized the questions posted were from December 11. They changed it.

1. Did you make any resolutions this year?

No (well, unless it was not to screw up telecommuting).

2. If so, which one do you think you'll really stick to? If not, is there something you're going to try harder to accomplish?

LOL. Not to screw up telecommuting! Since this is a pilot program, all of us involved have to be good for the sake of everyone else. I would like to try harder to get things done on time. (Which means I need to mail several items!)

3. Do you have a fear of any small rodents/insects/etc? If so, please share.

I'm not scared of rodents; I just don't want them in my house. Same for ants! I'm not really scared of worms; I just don't like them. Looking at them turns my stomach. But then I wouldn't want to hold one, so I guess it qualifies as "scared."

4. Share something exciting that's going on in your life.

You must have me confused with someone else. LOL. Actually, the telecommuting business is exciting. The Feds in this area have been opposed to it for several years, but with the Atlanta traffic getting worse every day and smog alerts in the summer more common, plus the price of gas, I guess they finally decided it was time.

5. Did you wonder what happened to Monday Madness these past few weeks?

Yes. The Tuesday Twosome person has been gone for ages, too. I'd wondered if there were something wrong. So many things can happen...

...and this question comes from one of our good friends, tricia:

Do you have a favorite gameshow announcer?


The only game show I watch is Jeopardy, so it's hard for me to judge. Besides, who can ever replace the late, great Don Pardo?

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» Monday, January 22, 2007
Connected
Well, my laptop is finally talking to the printer and to the network. I had a corrupted profile.

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You've Got to Be Kidding...Again
$38,000 Kids' Birthday Parties?

I guess this is just to ramp you up for the prom night that costs half that of a wedding and the $100,000 wedding. What an utter waste of money. No wonder other people in the world think Americans are nutcases.

I remember having a blast at my 12th birthday party in our paneled (by dad) basement with some cake and snacks. We had a pillow fight and ruined all of Mom's pillows that she didn't think were good enough for the living room anymore. (She still got upset that we ruined them, too, come to think of it. LOL.)

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"Life Goes On..."
And all that. Really a dull weekend. Saturday we went to the hobby shop as always, Michaels to exchange glass for a frame (it didn't fit; they only sell 11x14 and 8x10 replacement glass and the frame is 10x13; 10x13 is hard to find inexpensively—far as I know, only Wally World sells it), Cost Plus to get James a Valentine gift. Had lunch at Spaghetti Warehouse because we had a two-fer coupon. Reading Mr. Monk and the Blue Flu, which starts off promisingly. Goldberg has Stottlemeyer/Disher down pat, especially with their dialog. Of course he has written for the series, too.

Michaels had scraps of leftover Christmas stuff, including keychains with stuffed blue mittens with snowflakes embroidered on them and stuffed snowflakes either in blue or white with embellishment in the opposite color for ten cents each. I got two blue mittens and two white snowflakes to put in the foyer.

Sunday we went to Wally World and Costco and stocked up (also got the 10x13 frame and I bought an el-cheapo blue scarf for the stuffed snowman on the porch). Hit Books-a-Million to see if they carry a new rocketry magazine called "Launch." (No luck there or in Borders/Barnes & Noble, which we stopped at yesterday.)

It was 37°F and raining all day yesterday, miserable and chill. I'd rather have snow, thank you very much. It doesn't creep into your bones and your heart.

Positives: finished a cross-stitch as a gift. Bought Pidgie fresh seed and Willow a new supply of "dog cookies," including Christmas cookies at 75 percent off. Watched more Get Smart! (now through "The Wax Max"). Also I finished Who's Sorry Now?, which I talk about in more detail in Cozy Nook. Positive because I made it through the damn thing.

Back to the office for today and tomorrow. Wheee...

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» Friday, January 19, 2007
It's a Better Living
The other two days of telework went about like the first. I would have liked to have gotten more orders done, but I was missing material that I needed to complete them; basically it worked out the same as if I were in the office, plus I didn't add to the traffic grid and didn't pollute the atmosphere for three days. On a personal level I got five hours total of extra sleep, exercise every day I worked at home, had fewer hot flashes because we keep the house cool, and didn't get headaches from the lights.

I think it's a great idea if everyone can manage it.

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» Thursday, January 18, 2007
Thursday Threesome

This week's:

Seasonal News:

::No California Oranges This Year!::

Onesome: No California-- drivers allowed! Do you drive and talk on the cell phone? Come on, fess up...

No. I have answered the phone or dialed a call at stop lights if I needed to know something immediately, but it's rare and I hang up as soon as I start moving.

Twosome: Oranges-- and Apples and Pears, oh my! Do you have a favorite fruit?

Well, it used to be nice dark red Bing cherries, but the stores don't allow you to pick them from a bin anymore, so you get stuck with the pale soft ones, too, which taste terrible. Plus even the dark firm ones are not as sweet as they used to be. To get good tasting cherries now, you have to buy Raniers.

I'm increasingly aggravated with my favorite fruits. I love Granny Smith apples, but they're starting to look like they're crossbreeding them with those disgusting "Delicious" apples and they aren't the nice puckery sour they used to be.

I also like peaches when they are still a little green, so they give a nice crisp "snap" when you bite into them.

Threesome: this Year-- I'm going to _______  (go ahead; fill in the blank. No, it's not a resolution <g>!)

Get a decent night's sleep (I hope).

Last week's:

From Winter into Spring

::Strange Little Bud::

Onesome: Strange-- twists and turns on the web? Do you recall how you ended up here at the Back Porch? ...just curious.

There's a web page that just lists memes. I don't have the URL here. I found "Thursday Threesome" and the old "Friday Five" on that.

Twosome: Little-- by little we branch out and bloom. How often do you post per week? Is that more or less than six months ago?

Daily, I hope!

Threesome: Bud-- break time is coming later this year. ...but are the bulbs in your area pushing up through the soil yet?

It's been so warm we've had trees blooming. Of course they're now all getting wet and tonight they'll be frosted over.

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Baby, It's C 0 ld Outside
For Canada it's downright tropical for winter. :-)

The temperature is hovering at 34°F and there's 100 percent humidity. I took Willow out for a walk at 1 p.m. and it was that damp cold that worms its way into your flesh and bone and makes you cold from the inside out. Yestereday she trotted out happily, enjoying the walk, and today she was in a hurry to get back inside, but we did finish the walk. There was ice along the deck rail when I went out to refill the bird feeder early this morning and the birds attacked the fresh seed en masse.

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» Wednesday, January 17, 2007
Three...Four...Five Kids, Seven Professors, Two Arctic Dwellers, and a Russian Genius...
...not to mention the meglomaniac scientist named Murdo in A Cozy Nook to Read In.

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Vocabulary-Challenged Mystery Series...
...and other reading adventures in A Cozy Nook to Read In.

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End of the First Day
Wow. This was good. Got more quotes in this afternoon, answered a phone call, made queries on some discrepancies—the usual office things.

I'm not zonked out by nine hours of fluorescent lights and at least 90 minutes of driving (the time I would have spent driving I spent sleeping this morning), plus I didn't have nine hours of a fan roaring at me because my cubicle is so stuffy (it's been running about 76°F there; I keep the house at 67).

The only thing I am having trouble with is printing some PDF files. I received several of them today as quotes. One printed out in gibberish the first time, then printed out fine the second time. A couple of others I had no trouble with, but I had at least two that would not print out completely. One was a logo, text, and a photo of a product. The logo and all the "l's" printed out fine. The rest of it was blank space. Another came as a form and all that printed out was the blue borders around the boxes. A second one that came like this I asked the end user to fax. Wicked bizarre...

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Real Progress
Well, this is working out even better than I'd hoped.

I have already done a modification, sent out a couple of small requirements for quotations, received faxes of quotations and sole source justifications, received quotations via e-mail, sent reminders of things I need, and just finished posting a notice to the Federal Business Opportunities website and still have about 2 1/2 hours to go. I need to look at the quotations I received and see if I can do another order and I also now have an order here I can send out for quotations because the end user has sent me the specs for the refrigerator she needs.

I got another hour and a half sleep this morning before starting at eight, so at lunch time (I took my lunch at one) I didn't need to lie down and nap or rest my eyes because they were burning from the fluorescent lights. Instead I sat down and ate a light lunch (seafood spread on melba toast and a cup of mandarin oranges), then took Willow for a fifteen minute walk before getting back to work.

And I'm listening to Christmas music (Windham Hill, new age; nothing strident)...so there. Pidgie, as always in the afternoon, is asleep. So is Willow, for that matter, curled up tight at the top of the stairs (probably in hope that James will show up <g>). (God, I wish I hadn't put the camera away this morning. They both look so cute!)

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Top 10 Reasons to Telework
Today is my first day teleworking.

They gave us a combo printer/fax/scanner/copier, a honkin' big flatscreen monitor, and a laptop.

However, as I found out last night after talking an hour with computer support, the laptop she don't work right. I can log onto the teleworking portal but can't get into any of the applications. I can't even change the fargin' MSN URL that Windows strongarms on you in Internet Explorer. Apparently my laptop was set up without a Local Settings option, which means I can't save anything or get into applications.

However, I can do it fine on my home desktop, which is fine with me because that's what I wanted to work from anyway.

The combo job, on the other hand, works fine (except it would only print out part of a PDF file I was sent; I tried to print it on my laser printer and it wouldn't print there, either—wicked bizarre...). I've already received two faxes (one of the PDF file that wouldn't print) on it.

So we is connected. Meanwhile Pidge warbles happily and Willow is depressed because it's not Daddy that's home, and I offer you in bad Letterman style:

Top 10 Reasons to Telework

10. Can play Christmas music in October without people making smart remarks.
9.  Comfy clothing.
8.  The windows at home open.
7.  No driving at o'dark thirty a.m. with pack of idiots tailgating you at 75 mph.
6.  Home computer has superior word processor (WordPerfect, of course) for writing up narratives.
5.  Nice firm office chair that supports lumbar region and without arms that impede typing.
4.  Can work quietly without people talking at top of lungs outside cubicle.
3.  Air conditioning works properly at home (bathroom's a lot nicer, too).
2.  Save gasoline and help the environment at the same time since one doesn't have to cool heels in traffic 90 to 150 minutes per day.

And the number one reason is

1.  NO [EXPLETIVES DELETED] FLUORESCENT LIGHTS!!!!!


(Best of all I get to kiss James when he left for work. <g>)

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» Tuesday, January 16, 2007
Like a Rock
The temperature is dropping fast. We set a record 73°F yesterday; this morning at six it was 48° and now it is 40.

We are appreciating the perks of a modern house. Yesterday I had the fans going in the bedrooms and all the doors open for complete air circulation. There was a breeze coming in the living room windows and I didn't want Pidgie to get a draft, so I didn't put a fan there. James shut the spare bedroom fans off a little after nine and closed up our room with the fans still on. I didn't close the rest of the windows until bedtime (eleven). Nevertheless, the temp at the thermostat was still 71°F and in the living room 76. I turned the heat back on because the temp was supposed to crash during the night.

Nevertheless, when I got up, the heat, set at 67°F, still had not kicked on because it was still 69. I call that good insulation!

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Someone Will Go Home
It's good to hear about a happy ending for a change:

Camper Rescued Weeks After Search Called Off

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» Monday, January 15, 2007
Woohoo!
Hugh Laurie won another Golden Globe Award!

(And it's only going to be 48°F tomorrow. Yay!)

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» Sunday, January 14, 2007
Decorated for Winter...
...in Holiday Harbour.

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More Books
I'm trying to write a little more in A Cozy Nook to Read In, even if it's just book titles and/or reviews of a couple of lines.

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» Saturday, January 13, 2007
Hope Is Back "Home"
Putting the Christmas tree up in Holiday Harbour.

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» Friday, January 12, 2007
Friday Five

1. Favorite cereal and why?

Special K. Because I grew up on it and like the taste. I also eat Grape Nuts, which pretty much stay crunchy unless you leave them under milk for hours. :-) For a treat, once a year, I usually buy a small box of Frosted Flakes.

2. What is the best thing about summer?

Nothing, as far as I'm concerned. When I was in school and before I had to get a job in the summer, of course it was a good thing. Of course, as early as junior high I was lobbying for the schools to put air conditioning in the buildings and then let us have school in summer and a winter vacation. I even wrote a piece of doggerel for English class about the idea.

3. Would you rather have a slurpee or a milkshake?

Well, neither, actually. I'd like a coffee cabinet or a chocolate frappé or a Del's frozen lemonade. :-)

4. If you could be a member of any band/musical group, past or present, what band would it be and why?

Glenn Miller! Because he made good music!

5. Who is your idol? What is he/she famous for?

Eleanor Roosevelt. Because she was able to overcome emotional abuse, neglect, and shyness.

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» Thursday, January 11, 2007
Free Videos
Some classic cartoons and television shows here:

Like Television

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Finding Home
Cool!

Sleuths Close In On Odysseus Home

(Why is CNN listing this under "Entertainment"? It's archaeology, so it's science. Or at least "travel.")

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» Wednesday, January 10, 2007
A Special Gift
I found a small package in the mail today.

Even though we had stayed there a month, James and I could not completely clear out my mother's house, and both of us had to get back to work. We left behind curtains, the shadow box (had I known we'd be buying a new house, I probably would have taken it), the sofa, and a bunch of junk in the cellar, and my cousins had the thankless job of cleaning the rest of it up.

In the package was an apron my cousin Deanna had made from the flowered print material of Mom's kitchen curtains.

Makes me want to cry.

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Who Makes the Decision?
Adults Living With Kids Eat More Fat

The woman interviewed in this story "said trips to the grocery store usually revolved around her kids' tastes.

"'You buy cookies and you buy snack foods and you buy hot dogs and you buy canned raviolis and all this, and now that's there when you open the cabinet...'"

Er? Since when did what kids wanted at the grocery store dictate what food mom and dad bought? My mom never bought cookies or snack foods if she didn't want me to have them. I had either a small bag of Fritos or a Yodel in my lunch box for recess. For lunch I had a sandwich, a fruit, and milk. No junk food was allowed. We generally didn't have snack food in the house except for what I took for recess and I wasn't allowed to drink soda, either. Mom used to buy hermits from the bakery, but she had them for breakfast during the week, and I ate them on weekends instead of (non-sugar) cereal, not in addition to. When I snacked, I did so on Special K or bread. The only time we had a lot of baked goods in the house was at Easter or Christmas. Granted, you can't regulate what they buy with their allowance when they're on their own, but why buy processed food for kids if you want them to eat healthy meals? If they're hungry enough, they'll eat granola bars or cereal or fruit.

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Things I Wish for the New Year
• Friends and family who are well will stay well.
• Friends and family who are not well will get better.
• Friends and family will stay safe.
• That although we cannot be slaphappy (not practical or challenging), we can all at least be happy.

All the rest (down to the minutia) is gravy:

• That the summer would be cool. (Snowball's chance in hell...)
• That we'd have snow at least once. (Ditto.)
• That my cousin Donna will keep talking about her trip to Italy.
• That Elaine will continue posting her gorgeous photos. (Care to send some of that snow our way? <g>)
• That Lassie season sets would start coming out on DVD.
• That AMC would release Remember WENN for DVD.
• That Fox would quit pre-empting House for American Idol.

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Naked House...
...in Holiday Harbour.

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It's About Damned Time Department
The Prisoner of Zenda on DVD

Of course you're stuck with the silly scene-by-scene color remake with Stewart Granger. One of Ronald Colman's fingers was more sexy than all of Granger.

(It doesn't say it on Amazon.com yet, but according to Deep Discount DVD Eleanor and Franklin: the White House Years will be out on May 7. Hurrah!)

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» Monday, January 08, 2007
Interesting Times
Despite having taken two Prilosec yesterday, I had a severe case of acid reflux at bedtime. Had I eaten something spicy, it would have been my own fault, but it was simply was from the wonton broth I'd had at supper, which I'd eaten with oyster crackers and a couple of spoonfuls of leftover white rice. I finally got to sleep after four a.m.

James in the meantime had a sore throat all the previous evening. When he started getting cold, we knew he was coming down with something, since he's never cold. Luckily, James' usual cold remedy is "stay home-drink hot liquids-wrap up for a day" and he's fine the following day, which is why we were so concerned when he had fevers for three weeks last year, despite two doses of antibiotic.

I got up at nine intending to go into work and instead found myself coughing and not breathing well. When I cough like that, I am coming down with bronchitis and have to work fast to nip it in the bud, since I developed a penicillin allergy in 2004 and Kaiser finds it hard to find something to prescribe that doesn't cause a reaction. Instead of going to work I went to CVS and got myself some guaifenesen, which is what Kaiser always tells me to get when I call the advice nurse, and also some zinc lozenges. So we sat hibernating all morning and afternoon and I swilled ibuprofin and had an orange. I was feeling a little better by late afternoon, so I put on a jacket and hat just to be safe (even though it was still in the 50s) and went out to get the mail, and on the way back in grabbed the Christmas stuff off the porch, which I'd intended to do when I got home anyway. This took about ten minutes, and I took another ten minutes putting out the winter flag and the little snowman decorations, then swapped a blue bow for the red bow on the silver wreath and was done. I closed the garage doors (I had put the extension cords in the garage), came in, took off my jacket and hat and came upstairs to put the tools away, then asked James if he'd like to see what I did before it got too dark.

He had just put a pot of rice on the stove. It was about 5:30.

He looked around when we got outside and said, "Well, since I'm out here, I'll just get the stepladder and take the lights down. They're all on hooks, it will take five minutes." So he got the stepladder while I unwound the blue lights from the columns, and he took the star lights down.

I picked up the star lights. "I'll put these in the garage."

Except he'd turned the lock.

And there we were, out on the porch, locked out, no phones, and no coats. The garage doors were locked.

However, the bedroom windows were still open; I was airing out the room in an effort to eradicate whatever germs had caused this morning's mischief. If we could find an extension ladder (ours, of course, was in the garage), James could get in the bedroom window.

Unfortunately the Robinsons next door weren't home, Kristi's husband (who was home with the creeping crud, too) said they didn't have one, and the folks next door to them didn't have one, either. Kristi's husband invited us in to keep warm and we called the Spiveys, who gave us the Boulers' number (we know John has an extension ladder), but they weren't home. It's now about 6:15. The rice is on low on the stove.

We bit the bullet and called a locksmith, who told us it would be 20 minutes. They called back five minutes later saying it would be 45 minutes and that since we had something on the stove we might want to call someone else. We did, who said they'd be out in 20-25 minutes. It's now 6:30 p.m.

We know the street is not on a lot of maps, so when someone had not showed up in 25 minutes, we called the locksmith back to make sure they didn't need further directions. Sure enough, the guy couldn't find our street on his GPS receiver and had gone back. James told him to look up the address of the house on the corner, which is on all the maps (this is how we generate a map to give to friends trying to find the house) and clearly enunciated the name of the street several times and spelled it. James said the person was talking on a cell phone and the signal was terrible.

By now I'm getting paranoid about the stuff on the stove. A half hour more goes by. By now Kristi comes home. James is sitting outside waiting for the guy with my scarf on. She makes hot chocolate for him. The guy calls. After an hour, he is still ten minutes away!

Ten minutes later he calls back and it turns out he is on a completely different road. Although James told him the name of the street several times and spelled it for him, he was near a street with a similar name instead. I asked him where he was, asking for specific landmarks so I could give him directions our way, and couldn't understand him very well since he had a thick accent.

It is now close to 8 p.m. The rice has been on the stove for almost two hours. Despite the fact that James assures me it is on "low," I'm having visions of the kitchen catching fire.

In the meantime Kristi said "Wait a minute, maybe Dave has an extension ladder." Dave and his wife Linda live a couple of houses down from them. Kristi calls Dave, who does indeed have an extension ladder. I am at that point on the phone with the locksmith, who is still something like a fifteen minute drive from our house. He says, "Do you still want me to come?"

By the time he has asked that, James is at the top of the ladder, cut a small hole in one of the screens, enough to release the latch and get the screen off, and is going through the window. I said, "No, there's no need to," and he hung up. About five minutes later, as Dave is putting the ladder away and I'm giving Kristi a thank-you hug, the dispatcher at the locksmith calls Kristi back on her cell phone, angry because we told the guy not to come. Kristi calmly told her that the guy had gotten lost again, had not listened to our directions in the first place even though we had spelled out the name of the street and the cross street, and that in the meantime we had to get into the house because there was food on the stove and a neighbor had helped out.

Ironically, the rice was fine; it had turned into porridge, but it didn't even scorch. I patched the screen with the cool screen patch kit from Benny's in Rhode Island (they apparently don't sell them here; I've looked at both Lowe's and Home Depot, and even at the Ace and True Value Hardware stores), so we at least don't have to worry about that.

Sounds like it's time to get a spare key made... <wry g>

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» Sunday, January 07, 2007
Good Old-Fashioned After-Christmas Depression
A rainy, miserable day. We are both feeling under the weather if not really sick, and the weather only made it more gloomy. We started out to have breakfast at Denny's (we had twofer coupons) and discovered the Denny's at Heritage Pavilion was gone. Kaput. Bye-bye. Really odd because it was always busy.

So we ended up having lunch at Red Lobster instead: a cup of clam chowder each and sharing one of their lobster pizzas. I heartily recommend the lobster pizza. :-)

Did see something funny at Costco: we were wheeling around looking for trash bags and came upon where they keep stacks upon stacks of multipacks of bottled water.

Right next to it was the toilet paper. LOL.

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Time to Return to Spinning
January 7 is St. Distaff's day in Holiday Harbour.

By the way, this is a cool site: Chambers' Book of Days.

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» Saturday, January 06, 2007
Farewell to Christmas...
...in Holiday Harbour.

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Do You Know La Befana?
If not, catch up on the story of the gift-giving "witch" in Holiday Harbour.

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Pet Portraits
Willow in front of the fire:

Willow in front of the fire

"Calendar Puppy" look:



If anyone has ever wondered what "Girlfriend" looks like, here's Pidgie murmuring sweet nothings to "her":

Pidgie and

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» Friday, January 05, 2007
Friday Five

1. Do you have any pets? If so, how many, and what are their names?

We have a 15-pound terrier cross named Willow (after Willow in Buffy the Vampire Slayer) and a yellow and chartreuse budgerigar named Pigwidgeon ("Pidge") after Ron Weasley's owl in the Harry Potter books.

2. What was your very first pet? Do you remember its name?

My first pet was really a family budgie. He was green and his name was Pretty Boy. I was about two and would crawl around the floor with him; we'd play tag. Until the day he tried to hide under the refrigerator. :-( We also had a blue budgie called Bluebird. He just fell over and died one day.

The first pet I considered actually "mine" was Frisky, the budgie we got when I was ten. He was mostly yellow and also the first bird I had that talked. He used to say "Mommy [referring to my mother], I love you you dirty bird; shut up!" LOL. He also wolf whistled.

3. Is there an animal you would never have as a pet?

Any kind of reptile or amphibian.

4. What common pet have you always wanted but never had? Why not?

Cat. I'm very allergic and so is James. (And I own a bird.)

5. What wild animal (extinct or not) would you own if you didn't have to worry about its adjustment or the cost of captivity?

A chickadee! (Or an English robin; I love them both.)

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Photo Finish...
...in Autumn Hollow.

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» Thursday, January 04, 2007
Thursday Threesome

From the Holiday Series

::College Bowl Games::

Onesome: College-- playoffs? Yes or no? ...or 'who cares?' Is the current BCS system something you think works or would prefer things a bit more 'tidy'?

To quote Ralphie in A Christmas Story: "Football? What's a football?" What does BCS mean anyway? :-)

The only time I tolerate football is on Thanksgiving and New Year's Day, and I don't watch it; I just don't mind it playing in the background. It reminds me of my dad and uncles and cousins.

Twosome: Bowl-- of cherries? Chips? Tofu? What's on your snack list during a game. ...or a favorite show?

Hull-less popcorn, which doesn't give me the [fill in your favorite euphemism for running to the toilet every ten minutes]. Salty and few calories.

Threesome: Games-- within games: if you're a sports fan is there any sort of 'inner game' you like to watch during the contest? I'm thinking in terms of line work in football or post play in basket ball. ...and if you're not into sports, how about something similar in your favorite pastime?

Not even sure what this means, so I'll pass. The only thing I like about pro sports is when they show bloopers.

Last week's:

From the Holiday Series

::Happy New Year!::

Onesome: Happy--New Year to you and yours! ...any plans for this weekend? Dick Clark? Guy Lombardo? Early to bed?

The whole weekend? A visit to James' family and a visit to Ikea, then a party New Year's Eve. Sleeping late would have been nice. LOL.

Twosome: New--year, old year. Is this the year you take up skiing? ...or knitting? ...or vacuuming every other day <g>? Do you have any major project you'd like to tackle? (Sure, 'resolutions' count...)

Finishing the library. Maybe getting the yard fenced so the Dalmatians quit invading. At least finishing the nook (we need two chairs and perhaps some fine gravel where we don't put down stepping stones).

Threesome: Year--end chores? Do the lights and decorations come down this weekend? ...or are you already "done with Christmas"?

We celebrate the twelve days of Christmas at our house. The decorations will be up through our Twelfth Night party this coming Saturday. Then [groan] it all must come down.

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As the Light Fades...
...in Holiday Harbour.

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» Wednesday, January 03, 2007
It's All in the Background
If you've read this blog for a while or checked out our domain, you will know that I am a fan of the four Addie Mills specials that CBS television produced in the 1970s. The first, The House Without a Christmas Tree, led to three sequels, The Thanksgiving Treasure, The Easter Promise, and Addie and the King of Hearts (about Valentine's Day), and the stories starred Lisa Lucas as Addie, Jason Robards as her father James Mills, and Mildred Natwick as James' mother, who raised motherless Addie in late 1940s Nebraska.

I was just turned 17 when House Without a Christmas Tree aired for the first time. I loved Addie. I was always drawing to go along with my stories and made a calendar every year using a calendar blank and illustrated with drawings from my stories, and in that she reminded me a lot of myself. She also loved English and vocabulary as I did. Unlike Addie, I didn't want to be an artist when I grew up; I just drew for fun. I also didn't have Addie's extroverted personality, which I envied. She wasn't afraid of anyone.

The specials ran from 1972 through 1976, and, of course, Addie grew up in the course of the stories. I remember that when I first saw the shows I loved the first two installments and was more lukewarm about the second pair, and for years had chalked it up to the fact that Addie getting older and worrying about clothes and boys was boring. In any case, when the specials showed up on the Disney Channel back in the 1980s, I videotaped House Without a Christmas Tree and Thanksgiving Treasure and skipped the other two.

While Easter Promise made it to VHS, King of Hearts simply disappeared. After I put together my Addie Mills website, I thought I would love to see them both again, but knew Easter Promise would be the only one available.

A week or so before Christmas this year, I found a copy of The Easter Promise on Half.com that was very reasonably priced (things like this program and The Gathering are super-popular on eBay and video sites and command big duckies), so I sprang for it and rewatched it just recently.

These are character-driven stories and I've heard many people complain that they are dull. While I disagree (courteously! <g>) about Christmas Tree and Treasure, I did find myself a bit bored during Promise. I thought the stories for the first two were more engaging; even the second tale on the old theme of the child befriending an embittered elderly person had a couple of twists to it. But the Promise story just seems like the same take on another old theme: child befriends successful person who turns out to be not the success people think and who is really insecure and unhappy.

Had the story been more appealing I probably wouldn't have noticed what bothered me the most.

CBS went very cheap filming all the Addie stories, using the same videotape they used for the daytime soaps. Many critics of the stories really hate this, but I was always able to look beyond it because I enjoyed the characters and stories so. In fact, it gave the stories a "reality show" type POV, as if you were observing an actual family in 1940-whatever.

However, in the first two specials CBS also allowed the story to be filmed "on location," if not in Nebraska, at least on the prairies, the Canadian prairies, and in a little town in Ontario, Uxbridge, that looked a lot like Nebraska must have looked back then. You didn't have the Little House on the Prairie effect with "Minnesota" looking like the southern California hills and it lent much to the verisimilitude of the story.

The Easter Promise exteriors are filmed on a stage set and it shows very, very badly on videotape, especially a scene where Addie arrives when James and Grandma are working in the vegetable garden and also in the scenes where Constance's house is visited. The situation which has been so carefully crafted previously is jolted by the glaring sets and for me, at least, the illusion was ruined. One scene has Addie visiting James on the job and he is using his crane near a wooden bridge that has been used in so many television shows that it sticks out like that proverbial sore thumb in the background.

They couldn't even be bothered to try to duplicate the "Clear River" scenes of the first two stories and it diverges wildly from Addie's original opening narration to House Without a Christmas Tree where she declares that Clear River is so small there are no buildings over three stories tall and the town has no traffic light because none is needed. The closing scene clearly shows a downtown that is a lot larger (and taller) than Addie described.

So while it was nice to see Lisa Lucas and company again, The Easter Promise (yes, I'll say it) failed to live up to the promise of its predecessors. Still, a DVD set of them all would be really nice.

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More Than Christmas Memories...
...in Holiday Harbour.

Speaking of things we don't do anymore, anyone remember making long-distance calls through the operator? It's funny now just to pop in a number and talk to anywhere in the world. When my dad used to call his sister or his brother in Massachusetts back in the early 1960s, you called the long-distance operator to make a station-to-station call. This meant you'd talk to anyone who was there. If you wanted to talk to a particular person you would call person-to-person, which cost more, but if that person wasn't there you didn't have to pay; station-to-station chargest racked up the minute the call was connected.

People with kids in college or family that had visited, say for Christmas, and then had gone back used person-to-person to make sure the kid/family member was back home safely without paying any money. Before the person in question left, they'd agree on a name, like "Melvin Fastbender." Then when the person got back to the dorm/home, they'd call the pertinent family member person-to-person, asking for Melvin Fastbender. Of course, Melvin was out, or didn't live there. Person who made the call would make an excuse to the operator that they wrote down the wrong number. Person who was called would know the trip had been made safely. The phone company used to have many ads each year, especially around Thanksgiving and Christmas, stressing that this was illegal. But folks did it anyway, even after direct dial came along.

Dad didn't mind using the operator, since he came from a generation where long-distance calls were usually associated with bad news and to make them you called the operator, who took your information and then hung up to start the laborous process of making the long distance connection. Once the connection was made, then they'd call you back to talk to the person at the other end.

Of course I still remember party lines. Never did remember how many rings were ours. :-)

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Pidgie's Guide to His Ancestors' Slang
:-)

Chundering Through Rooland

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» Tuesday, January 02, 2007
Christmas Music, Crafts, and a Last Cheer for Gerald Ford...
...in Holiday Harbour.

Let's see, out of the list I set for myself before Christmas, I accomplished the following in bold:

• First and foremostly, redistribute the photos in smaller boxes so that I can move the bookcase from the spare room into the craft room.
• Make arrangements for the after-a-year home inspection.
• Do some reading.
• Work on a new web page I have been outlining. (this is the new Five Little Peppers page)
• Do some cross-stitch.
• Paint the "Wish" garden ornament for the nook in the yard. (but I did put out both windchimes)
• 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. (we did take books to the library)

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» Monday, January 01, 2007
Chilling Out for the New Year...
...Holiday Harbour.

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Happy New Year!
Tournament of Roses

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