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, February 28, 2007
Yay!
New McBride movie, "Dogged," next Saturday (March 10) on the Hallmark Channel.

John Larroquette

I enjoy these movies. They remind me of the old NBC Mystery Movies of the 1970s like Columbo. John Larroquette is enjoyable as are his co-stars.

And I have to admit I like the dog. :-)

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» Tuesday, February 27, 2007
Just Sigh...
This job really makes me want to bawl or scream or kick trash cans at times.

I have certain rules I must follow to process these orders, and certain documentation I must obtain from the people they are for. I don't ask them for these things because I get some vicarious thrill for making more work for them (it's more work for me, too, especially when I have to send reminder e-mails) or confusing them. I need it because it's required for the process.

And it really gets me down when they phone or send an e-mail demanding why they have to do such things, that they've never been asked to do such things, that no one's ever questioned having this person or that company do that job, ad infinitum.

I don't know about the other person who processed the order previously. All I know is what is required for me to properly do my job. When I turn a package in to my team lead it must have "this," "this," and "that," and "that" must be properly filled, too. If I don't have all the required items, it gets sent back. That's it and there's nothing I can do about it.

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» Monday, February 26, 2007
Techie Question
We have two telephone jacks in the living room. One has the DSL modem plugged into it. The other is on the other side of the room and has the phone/answering machine plugged into it. Actually, there is a two-socket splitter plugged into the jack. The phone is plugged into one.

When I work at home, I plug the printer/scanner/fax unit into that other socket.

Even if the fax unit is not plugged into the electrical socket, sometimes when I plug the phone line from the fax into that socket, the DSL connection drops out, sometimes just for a few seconds, sometimes to the point where I have to unplug it to reset it. When I unplug the fax phone line from the socket, sometimes the same thing happens.

Since this is not the same jack as the DSL modem is plugged into, anyone know why this happens? Is it preventable? Thanks.

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Monday Madness

1. Do you ever use all caps when typing online messages?

Only if I'm angry at someone.

2. Does it bother you when other people use all caps in their messages?

Yes, because it's hard to read. It also bothers me when people can't spell or paragraph correctly. Just because you're online doesn't mean you don't need to be understandable. "Wall'o'text" (with no paragraphing) is so difficult to decipher!

3. Do you use abbreviations (i.e. lol, brb, etc.) when typing email messages or text messages?

For friends, yes. Not in business e-mails at work.

4. Do you ever receive faxes or other correspondence from a professional office that are typed in all caps? If so, what do you think of that?

Same thing I think of professional correspondence that is misspelled. It's not very professional.

5. Do you rely on the computer program to catch your typing errors, or do you proofread your material before sending it out?

I proofread it.

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» Sunday, February 25, 2007
Different Tastes
We hadn't gone to the breakfast buffet at Golden Corral for...at least six months, probably longer, so we did this morning. Not used to large breakfasts anymore and it sat badly for a bit. Then we turned in our plastic bags for recycling, and went to Trader Joe's. I got a couple of noodle bowls and we bought a shrimp/vegetable/noodle mix for supper. (Not a lot of shrimp, but quite good.) We have barbecue for two suppers and some ginger sesame noodles for another side—James wants to try an orange chicken recipe.

After Joe's we had to hit Costco for milk and then we read the paper. When I finished with that, I went downstairs and reshelved the books. I have lots of biographies of Louisa May Alcott and Walt Disney! :-) I'm surprised I don't have more books about Teddy Roosevelt, who is my favorite president. I do have McCullough's Morning on Horseback.

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Four Years Ago Today...
We miss you, Dana.
We'll meet again, don't know where, don't know when,
But I know we'll meet again, some sunny day.
Keep smiling through, just like you always do,
'Til the blue skies drive the dark clouds far away.

So will you please say hello to the folks that I know,
Tell them I won't be long.
They'll be happy to know that as you saw me go,
I was singing this song.

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» Saturday, February 24, 2007
A Little Oak Felled...
...in Autumn Hollow.

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Entertaining performer, super novelist and television writer, great musician, and best of all, all-time nice guy.

[tip of the hat to Daniel who used the same setup on his blog]

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» Friday, February 23, 2007
The Mysteries of Borders Rewards--and a Fruit Purchase
For some reason, James and I often get different coupons, although we belong to the same program. This weekend I got a 30 percent off one book or one DVD if $10 or more is spent. James, not to mention another friend who also has Borders Rewards, got one for $5 off $50. That's okay, I share.

(This has worked backwards, too. James once got a "goodie" that I did not receive. He shares, too. <g> 'Tis puzzling.)

So I skipped to a couple of Borders today using both the coupon and my personal shopping day to get some books that had just come out, including Jim Butcher's latest Harry Dresden book in paperback. Also hit Michael's for some fruit.

Okay, let me explain that. I had my 40 percent off coupons. I have been looking at all the St. Patrick's Day hoopla, and had looked a couple of websites about a "St. Joseph's altar," which is a three-tiered (symbolizing the Trinity) display of a statue of St. Joseph for his feast day on March 19. I don't think I can manage the three tiers, especially since I would put it on the china cabinet, but I would like to do a small one. So I bought an artificial bunch of grapes and an orange. Most of the St. Joseph altars include a lot of citrus fruit, bread, and fava beans. Michael's has an artificial loaf of bread, but it's huge, over a foot long. I need something that looks like a dinner roll! :-) So I'll get a lemon with another coupon. The hard part is rounding up a St. Joseph statue. This area of Georgia isn't exactly a Catholic bastion. I have found some online, but they range from $22 all the way into three figures. I tried to find a Catholic store I found online on Sandy Plains Road today, but may have gone the wrong way; I didn't see it.

They might have St. Joseph statues at the monastery.

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Double Memes
Thursday Threesome

From a oops moment

::Coffee in my Lap::

Onesome: Coffee--? ...or no? Black? Starbucks Cinnamon Dolce? Homeground beans (that you roasted)? Tea? Green? No? Water? What is your "sip of choice" right now?

Can't drink coffee. The regular version gives me heart palpitations and decaf gives me heartburn. Tea...shudder. Milk...always! I also like lemon-lime KoolAid, which they don't make anymore (I have a stash in the closet) and Del's Frozen Lemonade (we have a kit James bought in Rhode Island).

Twosome: "In my-- wildest dreams there's no way I would ever even consider _______!"

Wow. There's lots of those. Skydiving. Bungee jumping. Handling worms. Having a pet snake. Liking ants in my house. Traveling to the Middle East. Traveling to the Caribbean, the equator, or anywhere else where it's hot all the time.

Threesome: Lap--top or desktop? Which is your choice for hanging around on the net? ...or your choice if you had one?

Oh, I like my desktop. I've surfed extensively on the internet on vacation and at my mom's using the laptop. Rather have the desktop.

Friday Five

1. Would you rather serve in heaven or rule in hell?

I don't want to rule anything. Too much paperwork. :-)

2. If you had evidence that would catch a killer, but also put you in jail, would you use it?

Oh, man, that's a hard one. I think I'd say no because I really couldn't stand jail.

3. If you could work the worst job you have ever had, for three years and then never have to work again, would you or would you rather work the job you always wanted but not be able to retire until well past the age of retirement?

Honey, if I could work at something I like, I'd do it till the day I die.

4. If you could write four newspaper headlines, which would come true, what would they be?

"World Peace Declared," "Religious Groups Agree to Stop Fighting," "Intelligent People Elected to Office," and "Government Graft Halted."

5. A video of children in Florida fighting, while adults cheer on, was posted on the popular web site MySpace, The popularity of "gang videos" has also increased, and there has been renewed interest in re creating the infamous "Faces of Death" video series, do you feel there should be laws limiting extreme videos?

There are so many rules against these things and they don't seem to work. I'm just troubled by people who like to watch this stuff.

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» Thursday, February 22, 2007
High Wind in the Suburbs
Wheee! It's nearly 70°F, but at the rate the wind blows you might think you were at the shore. All it misses out there is the plash and hiss of the waves at Brenton Point. There's a wicked cross-draft coming through the house through the bedrooms down through the living room and out the back door; I have Pidgie half-covered so he doesn't get a draft. You can hear the wind whistling around the kitchen window and the wind-chimes down in the yard are tinkling like sleigh bells on a hard-driven horse. In the bedrooms the curtains billow outward and in the living room the shade claps against the window in applause.

I mopped the kitchen floor, then took Willow for a walk so she wouldn't track across it while it was wet. The sky is still a brilliant blue, but then the heat hasn't engendered all that "lovely" smog yet. When I got back I had something for lunch while half reading Jack Turner's Spice: The History of a Temptation (really enjoying it so far) and watched the segment about southern Ireland on Rick Steves' Europe.

And now back to the purchase orders...

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What DID Washington Say...
...when he crossed the Delaware? Lou Monte knew...in Holiday Harbour.

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» Wednesday, February 21, 2007
The Dust Ephermal
One of the craft projects I've been working on a little at the time is a project to re-add lines of glitter to six Christmas ornaments we brought home from my mom. These are elongated, with pointed ends. I was going to trash them because most of the glitter trim was gone, but James liked them, so I brought them home. Between other projects I had started restoring the glitter.

For the two blue ones I have some beautiful pale blue "fairy dust glitter" I found at JoAnn. I started on one of the blue ones yesterday. This isn't the stolid square glitter that one used to pick up in Woolworth's years ago, this is fine; it feels like beach sand. It's also that feathery. It doesn't stick to the thin line of Elmer's the way the old stuff used to, either. Used to be I could run a line and after a couple of hours it would be done. This takes forever to set. But the old glitter would have been too coarse.

I may have to stop work on it again to finish the "wish" ornament for the back yard. I'd planned to have it out there for March and it's getting close!

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"Humindingity"
My mom used to jokingly say this when it was sticky like today. It's 63°F and 99 percent humidity. It's stayed cool in the house till about now, so I've thrown open the back door and opened most of the windows and put the fans in. The bedroom smells like a fresh motel room and the yard like the garden after you water it, which is appropriate since we had rain all last night and thunder this morning.

I spent most of my lunch burning some .mp3 Christmas music to CD, but Wil and I did go out for our 20 minute walk around the neighborhood. I keep the walking brisk and Willow is always dismayed that I don't allow her much time to sniff after we've gone out in the back yard for an airing.

Tyler, the Weimaraner next door, woofed when he heard us out there, so of course Willow had to go to the narrow water-drain gap under the fence and bark and wag at him (with all the fur on her spine raised) at the same time. It's so funny.

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Forty Days Long...
...in Holiday Harbour.

We kids who had given up something always joked about the forty days: "Why do you think they call it 'length'?"

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» Tuesday, February 20, 2007
Echhhhhhh!
If getting up at 6 isn't depressing enough this morning, I get greeted with a nauseatingly cheery e-mail from Sirius announcing their merger with XM. (I'd heard rumors about this last year but I was praying they were just rumors and would not come to fruition.) I left Sirius almost a year ago to get away from their suck-ass service and now it looks like I'll be stuck with them again unless they really mean what they say and actually DO intend to give us the best of both services.

So what will we get from SiriuX (Xirius?)?

Will we still get a single traffic report for our city with XM's mostly competent reporters and reports, or will we get stuck with Sirius' abominable two-city share and bumbling reporting (like telling us a collision is in the left lane eastbound rather than in the right lane westbound—big difference when you're stuck in the westbound mess!—or completely ignoring an accident although it's so bad that traffic has been totally stopped for a helicopter landing so that someone can be medevac'd to the nearest hospital, or just recently, listening to the traffic "reporter" spend the entire report musing about how the cold weather tomorrow will affect traffic then rather than giving us the skinny on the traffic issues taking place now)?

Will we still get good channels like Escape (beautiful music) and Sonic Theatre (book readings and radio plays) and Cinemagic (movie music) (none of which Sirius has) and separate channels for 1950s and 1960s music and for Standards and for 1940s music like XM has or will we get none of the first three and Sirius' mixed 50s/60s (which includes only rock music) and mixed Standards/40s channel (Sirius apparently being under the belief that Standards and 1940s music are the same thing)?

And if we do luck out and get a separate 1940s channel, will we get Sirius' hideously restrictive playlist that just plays the most well-known 1940s music rather than all 1940s music like XM does—you know, "Take the 'A' Train" and "Chattanooga Choo-Choo" and "Sentimental Journey" are not the only 1940s songs that exist—not to mention the cool retro news XM gives us at 12 p.m./ 4 p.m. and the top ten music list for a certain 1940s year we get at 2 p.m.)?

Will we keep Take 5 (a rather entertaining women's channel) or will it be dumped in favor of the Oprah channel (yawn—what's next, the Dr. Phil channel)? Will we get to keep the two Canadian comedy channels, which have some hysterically funny British and Canadian comedians?

Will we get XM's New Age channel, which actually plays some Windham Hill and Narada frequently or do we get stuck with the lugibrious strains of the funereal New Age Music that's on Sirius?

Will we get four good, separate channel Christmas stations at Christmastime (not to mention Radio Hanukkah?) like XM has or will we get Sirius' Christmas abortions which take over regular channels and play mostly modern Christmas stuff like NSync and Barenaked Ladies—and the same playlist over and over and over every six hours (how many times can you play Josh Grogan singing "Believe" anyway; isn't every two hours a bit much)? I really enjoyed XM's Holiday Traditions in December! They had a playlist, too, but you usually didn't hear a repeat song for a couple of days, not every six hours. And you got good singers like Bing Crosby, Rosemary Clooney, Andy Williams, Amy Grant, Johnny Mathis, etc., not inspid boy bands and anorexic girl singers. And XM's Classical Christmas station was fabulous—lots of standard carols, not just "church music," by the Cincinnati and Boston Pops and the Philadelphia Symphony.

(Sirius' playlists suck out the nose. When we go out on weekends James is either playing Classic Vinyl or the 60s channel and it's the same damn songs, over and over. If I hear Janis Joplin croak out "Me and Bobby McGee" one more time, I'm going to hurl. It's almost as bad as "The Christmas Shoes.")

Will we get Sirius' ridiculous specialty channels like the Rolling Stone channel and Elvis channel and two (count 'em) Howard Stern channels? (I know that just because I don't care for Stern that there aren't people who like him, but two channels? What can Howard Stern possibly say that would be worth two channels? I wouldn't have even listened to Don Adams talk for 24 hours on two different channels. Might we at least get "The Jerry Doyle Show" back, f' god's sake? In a sea of rabid liberals and rabid conservatives, Jerry most of the time seemed like the voice of sanity.

I have a Roady XT with 30 channel preset capability. All but two of those channels are programmed. With Sirius I only had an 18 channel preset capability and I was hard pressed to fill all of those! The only thing I missed when I left Sirius was the Discovery Channel station, and then all they seemed to play when I was driving home from work was the stupid Wedding Story program. Who wants to listen to a bunch of women buying overpriced dresses?

Sigh...when you find something good, it always goes away.

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» Monday, February 19, 2007
Coupons and B-Movie Matinee
Was out for a few hours today using the two Michael's 50 percent off coupons. James had bought me a largish cutting plier for Christmas, but it didn't cut well at the tips, which is what I wanted it for. So I picked a new one up at Michael's with one coupon and used the other on a new black/white Painty marker. Found a deal on a big frame for a couple of airplane prints James has—60 percent off!—so got one.

Also stopped by Border's to get the February issue of the British Country Living and by MicroCenter to buy a new mouse. While I was there I perused their bin of cheap DVDs. For $2, I got four old B-movies, including two Mr. Wongs (with Boris Karloff in the title role), Mr. Moto's Last Warning and "The Shadow" film International Crime.

International Crime is a B-movie in every sense of the word. It has little to do with The Shadow radio series except the main character is named Lamont Cranston and there is a Commissioner Weston and a "Shrevy" the cab driver, who is called "Moe" in this outing. "Margo Lane" is now "Phoebe Lane," the daughter of the publisher of the newspaper at which Lamont Cranston works who's tired of "sob stories" and wants to report some "romance and adventure," so the editor saddles Lamont, who does a crime gossip column for the newspaper's radio station, with her. The rest is a typical 30s crime plot with Cranston (who doesn't "cloud men's minds") trying to outwit the police commissioner and find out who blew up a safe. Phoebe, unlike the savvy but always stalked Margo, is basically comic relief.

Mr. Moto's Last Warning is an interesting entry in the Moto series. Although today people blanch at a non-Asian playing an Asian, Peter Lorre doesn't insult the race as black actors were forced to do with their roles. Moto is clever and resourceful and knows martial arts. George Sanders, of course, is one of the bad guys, working with a ventriloquist whose act covers up that they are planning to set off mines as the French fleet comes through the Suez canal and then blame it on the British, thereby starting a war. Moto is helped near the end by the very epitome of an upper-class British twit by the name of Rollo, who looks a lot like a young Edward Herrmann, but he can't save the British spy—played by John Carradine in a really poor fake beard!—who dies, having been discovered, in a diving bell with no oxygen (this was pretty grim for a 1939 film and made all my claustrophobic alarms go off).

I also finished and put up the sign for the door on the "Christmas closet." This has various holiday symbols at the top and at the bottom shows a little sailboat heading for shore where there is a lighthouse and cabin. I named it after my holiday blog, "Holiday Harbor," which seems appropriate for all the things berthed there, including the Valentine decorations, which I took down today. Will enjoy the winter things while it lasts...which isn't long because it's supposed to be in the 60s this week.

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» Sunday, February 18, 2007
Day of the Books...
...as in shelving them, in Autumn Hollow.

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Delayed Memes
Thursday Threesome

Crockery?

::Cups and Saucers::

Onesome: Cups-- and quarts? Can you remember the conversions for cooking or do you have to look them up? ...or do you just use the old "this much plus a little" method?

We have two little charts that are taped up on the cupboard doors. One came from the Corning Revere outlet store and the other I bought from Yankee Magazine. They cover about everything. James basically cooks by instinct. We've had wonderful sauces that he can't duplicate because, like Topsy, they "just growed." One year we were just scraping by and the only thing we had left for supper one night was some leftover ham which was dried out. We had no glaze for it at all and no money to buy any. James concocted something out of two of those little containers of grape jelly they give you at the fast food place, some brown mustard, and a couple of other things. It was delicious.

Twosome: and-- how did Valentine's Day go? Do you have a chocolate hangover today <g>?

Didn't have much candy and haven't bought any half price. Probably should grab some for Atomicon, but haven't seen any deals.

Threesome: Saucers-- of milk for the kittens? A pint of ice cream for you? Who gets the last snack of the night at your place?

Pidge! I fill his food dish before bed and he always runs down and gets himself a snack.

Friday Five

1. How often do you typically shower/bathe?

Every night. The hot shower loosens up the knot I've had in my neck since the thyroid surgery, too.

2. Do you prefer showering or taking a bath?

Shower. I don't like to sit in dirty water.

3. What's the longest you've ever gone w/o a shower/bath?

The weekend our pipe burst and we had to shut off the mains. I think it was two days and then Juanita invited us over for a shower. That was nice.

4. What's your favorite personal hygiene product?

Gosh, I just buy what's on sale for most stuff. I guess Ban deodorant.

5. Do you shave your leg and/or beard? If so how often?

I don't shave that often because of the rashes. I get them even in the winter and have never found anything that works on them. I am usually in pain for several days.

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» Saturday, February 17, 2007
A Solitary Weekend--In Color!
So here I am with a three-day weekend. Naturally, not only doesn't James get holidays, but the powers that be chose this weekend to have him attend a class both days. Plus he made an arrangement to game tonight. Typical of life, as February Callendar would say.

I stayed out much longer than I wanted to today. Started out at the East Cobb library; there was a book there I'd wanted to look at but they didn't have it any longer. Since I was right there, I stopped at Book Nook, too.

The Michael's at Town Center is still remodeling, so there was a bunch of clearance stuff. I only bought some small wooden ornaments, a half-off Valentine heart, a skein of embroidery thread with my 40 percent off coupon, a discount cross-stitch kit and a brass container at 90 percent off, and, because it was also 90 percent off, more of that dratted floral wire. Never know when the other reel will decamp.

Lots of people in JoAnn, mostly for sewing classes. Got a good deal on a stack of seasonal scrapbooking paper; can give it as a gift or keep it for myself. All their Easter stuff is 40 percent off and there is an additonal 10 percent off entire purchase. I bought two small items, a little yellow chick and a rabbit that looks as if it's antiqued.

Bought Police Squad with my Border's 30 percent off coupon, which explains the slogan uptop. I've only watched half of it, since I finished the Get Smart set tonight: the final four episodes, which includes the very worst Get Smart episode ever, "Hello Columbus, Good-bye America," and the extras. I left Don Adams' memorial service until last. Many sniffles, but lots of chuckles, especially when James Caan told the golf story. I really, really wish Don Adams had been allowed to do some serious roles. I think he could have been good.

Also stopped at the new Wally World at the East-West Connector/Powder Springs Road. Can't say I was impressed. Went for oatmeal and there was barely any. Several of the other things I needed were also not there.

Final stop was the new South Cobb Regional Library. They had a copy of a Thanksgiving book I was thinking of buying. I came home with that...and a book of veterinary stories, The Wild Parrots of Telegraph Hill, a book about dogs and the exploration of the United States, and a book about the history of spices. Libraries are dangerous places! :-)

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» Friday, February 16, 2007
Attack of the "Blue Guys"
Anyone remember this episode from the 1985 version of The Twilight Zone? It was called "A Matter of Minutes" and starred Adam Arkin and Karen Austin. They wake up one morning to find that their home (apartment) looks weird and that it's overrun with little blue men building things. It turns out they have come unstuck in time or something and the blue men are the guys who build each moment in time before it arrives. This is the explanation for why you walk into a room and can't find your keys, and then you walk back into the room and there they are. The blue men are painting your next event in life one step ahead of you and sometimes they forget to put an item back.

The blue guys were working overtime this morning in our house.

The back door that leads to the deck is a metal door, so instead of a regular curtain rod I have a magnetic one. If you've never seen one of these guys, on the mounts on either side of the curtain rod, instead of holes to put nails or screws in, there are magnets to hold the rod to the door. In this case, the rod holds up a lace curtain, which is light enough to let the light in, but also gives a little privacy.

Well, the squirrels have been climbing up the deck posts to try to get at the bird feeder. Willow saw a squirrel on the deck this morning and leaped at the door trying to get at it. She must have caught a claw in the curtain, because next thing I knew, there was a bump and thump and the curtain and rod had fallen down. No biggie. I checked to see if she was hurt, then went to put the rod back up.

Obviously the rod had landed on the left mount, because it was telescoped all the way in (it's adjustable). It was just all in a heap in front of the door. I picked up rod and curtain.

Except the right mount is there, but the left mount is...gone. What the...?

It must have popped off and bounced. It's not small, it's at least three inches tall and an inch deep and bright white. It's not invisible by any stretch of the imagination.

I've searched the floor, under the chairs and on the seats of the chairs, and every single surface in the dining room. I looked IN and BEHIND Willow's crate, under the china cupboard and the microwave cart. I even searched the kitchen.

It isn't anywhere.

[puts hands on hips] All right, little blue guys, it's time to bring it back!!!

{Update 4 p.m. I had to go into the office to get a bunch of rush orders signed. The minute I got in, I looked around for the mount again. It turned out to be inside Willow's crate so far back in the corner I had not seen it the first time I looked, almost under the fleece! Everything else landed right at the foot of the door; this propelled sideways 10 feet across the room! Wicked bizarre!]

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» Thursday, February 15, 2007
She Looks More Like Aunt Miranda
Ancient Coin Shows Cleopatra Was No Beauty

Kate Douglas Wiggin described Miranda Sawyer in Rebecca of Sunnybrook Farm as your typical 1800s spare New England spinster type. Cleopatra as portrayed on the coin looks a lot like that!

There's always the old saw "beauty is in the eyes of the beholder." In Peter Paul Reubens time buxom women like he painted were considered beautiful, not fat. Maybe "...shallow forehead, pointed chin, thin lips and sharp nose" was considered beautiful in that age. Mark Antony (on the reverse) resembles a lot of the Italian men who had come "from the old country" that I knew as a child.

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What The Heck is Opodeldoc?
A new post in A Cozy Nook to Read In.

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» Wednesday, February 14, 2007
"I'm Shocked, Shocked to Find That Static Electricity is Going on in Here!"
It's been a...singular Valentine's Day so far.

Of course it's a work day, so I was sitting at my desk doing work things when lunchtime rolled around. We had rain yesterday, with temps in the 60s, but a cold front roared through last night (about 3 a.m., James reckoned) and the shades started to flap and the temperature plummeted. Not sure what the high was today but it wasn't more than 45°F.

After noon the clouds cleared up and when I took Willow and myself out for a walk during lunch the sky was a brilliant blue bowl overhead, the kind of blue that makes you cry, it's so beautiful. A few wisps of cirrus clouds here and there only accented the blue. We went all the way around the complex, including into the cul-de-sacs, against a very brisk wind. It made my cheeks red and my nose run, but I was nice and warm in in my winter coat from Rhode Island.

During the rest of my lunch break I finished up James' Valentine card. I simply had not found one I liked in weeks of looking, except for one that sort of struck my fancy at BJs, but I never went back for it because I had the idea to make him one. I think I was remembering Addie Mills' fantastical Valentine from Addie and the King of Hearts, which is described in the book as "layer upon layer of hearts, made in alternating pieces of red paper, lace doily, tin foil, red glitter, white glitter and red velvet, with white and red ribbons laced all through it. the bottom heart was the largest, with each one on top progressively smaller..."

I didn't end up with a masterpiece like that. :-) I used red and pink foam hearts, two double layers upon one big one, with decor in more paper hearts, gold and white glitter, gold leaf pen, heart stickers and other stickers. Not as neat as I wanted it. Ah well.

Anyway, after lunch, back to work.

One thing I miss about the house I grew up in is the baseboard heating. Forced-air heating like we have here is so dry in the winter. Since I'm always washing my hands for one thing or the other, they are constantly dry in winter, and the static electricity is something fierce. I keep giving myself shocks on the light switches, and worst of all, on the computer, every time I wear my slippers, which is often since I don't like to keep it really warm in the house. The thermostat is set at 67°F and my feet are always cold.

Well, the computer thing was becoming a problem. No matter what I do, I sit down and when I touch the on button or the mouse, I'd get a shock. Most of the time this completely locks up the computer and I have to reboot. You can see I'd be worried about frying something on the motherboard.

About an hour before I was supposed to shut down from work, I visited the bathroom. I came back. I touched a light finger to the mouse scroll button. Zttttt! Visible spark of electricity. Mouse freezes up. Nuts.

Rebooted the computer.

Ut-oh, mouse pointer still frozen.

Reboot again. I am sitting at the desk. I don't even let my feet touch the floor. I spin around on the chair, get a book. When I touch the on button, I still get a shock.

Naturally, the mouse pointer is still stuck. Ironically, the right mouse button works.

So I shut down. Again, and unplug the mouse. I figure if I can boot up again, then shut down, maybe the mouse will come back (hope springs eternal).

When I reboot with the mouse off, the computer comes up in safe mode. It then proceeds to re-install everything, including the motherboard components, the hard drive, the CDC-ROM... It then reboots and everything is okay except of course there's no mouse. Weird, weird, weird. At this point I call James and ask him where the ground bracelet gets attached. This is a gadget you wear when you are repairing inside a computer. Part goes around your wrist and the other end has a gorilla clip that you attach to the frame of the CPU case, so you don't shock the motherboard or your RAM accidentally.

So I put this on and reattach the mouse. No go. I have killed my nice Microslop scroll mouse. I plugged in the USB mouse that came with my work laptop and am using that until the weekend when I can buy a new mouse. I have the ground bracelet still attached for work tomorrow.

Good thing I wasn't using the laptop from work. I would have killed a government mouse. :-D

I don't mind working in stocking feet, but my toes are cold, dammit. :-)

So here I am waiting for James. His gifts are all wrapped and sitting on the hearth with the card. He's stopping somewhere to get supper on the way home. Not sure where, but he's already..wait, there he is. Bye.

[Five minutes later: Oooooooooh, dinner from Red Lobster!]

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Love (or Maybe Not) in the Snow
Northeast: Break Out Those Snow Shovels

One of the highlight headlines is "Storm could delay Valentine's Day deliveries" and a florist is quoted as saying "People have to understand, we can't do it if it gets really bad. Other than that, we'll kill ourselves to get it delivered."

What kind of folks would get angry if the florist couldn't deliver flowers in a snowstorm? Wow.

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» Tuesday, February 13, 2007
It's the English Springer Spaniel!
What a lovely coat on this dog! My aunt and uncle in Massachusetts used to have an English Springer when I was a little girl. His name was Jeff. I think there is a fragment on our old home movies of my cousin Johnny and I chasing Jeff—and being chased by Jeff—around the yard of their house on Bridge Street in Beverly, Massachusetts. Of course now we know chocolate is bad for dogs, but back then Aunty used to feed Jeff Cocoa Puffs for breakfast.

James the Spaniel's Best of Breed Photo

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A Few Links for Valentine's Day...
...including about some infamous goings on in Chicago in Holiday Harbour.

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Julian Beever's Sidewalk Drawings
Tip of the hat to Juanita, who sent me these via e-mail, but here is a web page for Julian Beever, who does amazing three-dimensional sidewalk art.

As you can see on his web site, he also does "regular" art as well.

If one could just leap into his art like you can into Bert's in Mary Poppins, that would really be cool.

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3D Dogs
Watched Westminster last night in HD. Whoa. It was as if you could walk into the ring. They made a big fuss about the Dandie Dinmont which Bill Cosby co-owns; I didn't realize he was the only Dandie there. He shows very well. One of the terriers—I think it was the Lakeland—nipped at his handler; bad form there.

I love the smaller dogs; they just have that attitude that "man, I am the only real dog here!" The smallest dogs, like the Norfolk and Norwich terriers, have this gait with little flashing feet that I call "twinkling." The little paws are moving so fast it gives the appearance of going in and out.

They mentioned at the agility trial on Sunday night that rat terriers are now an AKC accepted breed, but I did not see any last night, either in terriers or in the toy group. Perhaps the ruling was too new to allow any rat terriers to enter?

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» Monday, February 12, 2007
Kids...
News report saying that Atlanta has the third highest population of new children being born.

Yes, and almost all of them were at Ikea on Sunday. LOL. I've never seen so many small children in my life.

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This Is One Bored Cat
Has everyone seen this? It was forwarded to me in e-mail but I only had a chance to watch it today. Apparently a couple was having high water bills, but no leaks could be found. One day the husband was home sick and heard water running constantly. He found this going on:

Water Leak Problem

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Going to the Dogs
Westminster: tonight, USA network, 8-11 p.m. EST. Being carried in HD on Universal HD.

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Dehydration R Us
I've never lived in a place where they have so many water main breaks. I think the City of Atlanta has had more water main breaks in the past ten years than I ever heard of in all of Providence County combined in 28 years. A few weeks ago they had a literal flood—water gushing out of the mains like oil—in Buckhead.

Last Thursday there was a main break here and the building was without water. I hear it got pretty bad in the bathrooms. They had the water fixed by Friday but it was not tested yet. I have an e-mail from Friday saying they would have the "results in an hour."

We still can't drink the water, which I didn't know when I arrived. So I'm trying to survive the day with one 16 ounce bottle of water which luckily was in my car but is already half gone. I usually drink four times that amount during the day. I'm still coughing and my throat hurts. We only have can dispenser drink machines, so there is no bottled water in the building, and I couldn't buy any anyhow, as I gave all my cash to James since I owed him the money from Saturday (and even if I had the money I gave him, I couldn't get anything to drink—it was all $20s from the bank machine and our drink machines only take dollar bills). Sheesh.

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» Sunday, February 11, 2007
More Homes for Books...
...Autumn Hollow.

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» Saturday, February 10, 2007
On With the Games
We are just finishing tidying up from our games night. We had "Swedish" meatballs (actually in a chicken/beef gravy mix), cocktail franks in barbecue sauce, and taquitos, with chocolate chip cookies, apples and caramel sauce, and a veggie tray on the side. We played Uno for about two hours, then tried a new game I gave to Alice for Christmas, Zigity. The instructions were rather obtuse and we ended up abandoning it to play the 20th Anniversary edition of Trivial Pursuit. Literally have not played TP in years.

Pidgie was Mr. Social Extrovert through the whole thing and is now tired. :-) Willow was pretty good. She only barked when everyone came in, then shut up. Of course she noticed we all had food, too. :-)

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Valentine Decor...
...in Autumn Hollow.

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Friday Five

1. If you were a crayon, which color would you want to be?

A rich blue, not too light, not a paler sky blue, but more like a blue velvet, but not a dark blue velvet.

2. Which color do you think you would be regardless of what you wanted?

Brown, the same color as that mushroom I usually feel like.

3. Would you rather be used and get blunt, broken and lose your wrapper, or not be used and stay pristine?

Used. I want to color in a lot of cool pictures.

4. Would you rather be in a small set of crayons or a large set?

A large set, because I'd want to be in the middle of all the different colors and shades of the rainbow.

5. Would you rather be Crayola, or a different brand?

Crayola forever! One of the most distinctive scents in the world, even more so than famous perfumes. (And almost as good as book print.)

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Far-Out Fido
We heard the most unbelieveable commercial on the radio while out doing errands. It was about a family dog that was uncontrollable. The family had tried obedience classes, a professional trainer, even an electric collar! But the dog simply would not obey.

The commercial has the answer...it's a new drug that calms your dog down! [James reminded me later that this is "new" because it's not a pill, it's in a dog biscuit.] That's right, you too can medicate your dog with a treat instead of giving him more attention or exercise or taking the time to train him correctly.

The supposed "owner" of this dog chirps "And he was so much happier!"

Of course he was "happier"! The dog is stoned!

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B-U-S-Y Spells Friday
(which explains the post on Saturday)

Went to Trader Joe's today. As my friend Sue put it, it looks like a smaller version of a Whole Foods. Lots of organic stuff, mostly expensive.

However, with the demise of Uncle Ben's rice/noodle bowls, I notice they do have a small collection of mostly-Asian type bowls, including teriyaki and sesame ginger (and at a lot less than the Uncle Ben's bowls used to cost). I also noticed that they sell boneless lamb in little plastic packages ala the boneless chicken thighs at Costco, about two pounds to a package. Last September at the Yellow Daisy Festival, we bought some homemade mint jelly, with bits of spearmint leaves in it. Lamb, mint jelly...Easter dinner?

They seem to have some of the Ritter "Sports" chocolate bars. I didn't see the coffee flavor, which Harry's Farmer's Market used to carry, but they have...ulp...dark chocolate with whole hazelnuts.

Hit Michael's at Merchant's Walk and got a Valentine banner with my coupon.

To Barnes & Noble: New World of Cross-Stitch magazine has a cool gadget: a thread holder with wipe off dry-erase spots to put thread numbers with a magnetic strip for needles on the side. It also has a thread count gauge on the side and tells you what size needle to use with what count fabric.

To Michael's at Town Center: They're remodeling. Looks like a giant ate an entire craft store then threw it back up. Copped a few Valentine decorations, including a very pretty wooden painted heart that says...ugh..."Cutie."

To JoAnn (twice, since I had two sets of coupons). In between I went to Linens'n'Things. I saw something neat in there last summer, but was loathe to buy it due to the price. Lo and behold, neat thing is on discount. I am not mentioning what neat thing is because I bought one for someone who it is totally appropriate for. I think she reads this blog, so I can't mention it.

Came home. Constructed little stands out of half a styrofoam ball for some glittered Valentine hearts on a stick. The little stands didn't come out anywhere near as good as I wanted them. However, I painted "Cutie" out with a nice layer of Apple Barrel Gloss White and when it was dry, repainted it to say "Be My Valentine" with gold heart embellishments.

So tonight after supper I went out on the front porch and swapped about half of the winter decorations, including the wreath on the door adn the banner, for Valentine decorations, plus I put little heart decorations on the two snowmen, on the snowman on the table stand, in the middle of the winter wreath, and on the sled.

Then I took the white bottle brush tree with small red balls on it I bought at a discount after Christmas and strung various heart ornaments (painted wooden hearts, solid plastic hearts, and gingham hearts) on a embroidery thread and wound it around the tree. Viola! (as Snagglepuss used to say): Valentine tree!

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» Thursday, February 08, 2007
Thursday Threesome

Aeronauticals, perhaps?

::Pitch, Yaw, and Roll::

Onesome: Pitch-- What is your singing range? ...and do you sing at all? Laurie, you're leading off here <g>!

I was told when I was younger that I had a nice singing voice, not professional or anything, just for church. However, several hundred colds and one thyroid cancer surgery later, my singing voice isn't much at all.

Twosome: Yaw--'ll ken that one? Do you have any 'dialect words' that you use as a matter of course? "Ken", meaning "to understand" (Scottish and other derivations) in this case...

Well, I've learned not to use them here, but many before I left home: "bubbler" for water fountain, "cabinet" for milkshake (in Rhode Island a milkshake has milk, flavor, and thickener, no ice cream; in Massachusetts if you want ice cream in it, you ask for a frappe—of course in Massachusetts, if you want a soda you ask for "tonic," which is pronounced more like "tawnic"), "grinder" for submarine sandwich, "bunk school" or "bunk" for play hookey, "gravy" for spaghetti sauce, "doughboys" for fried dough (or elephant ears), etc. Plus there were all the Italian terms: "stai zitto" for shut up," "stunath'" (sp?) for stupid, "sfachieme" (again, sp?) for...well, Mom used to use it when I was being particularly obstreperous, "basta" for "Enough!", etc.

Threesome: and Roll-- on down the road? Hey, if the roads were as icy as they've been in the Midwest and East would driving to work even be a consideration for you?

I prefer not to drive on ice and have stayed home when it was very bad. But I have driven on icy roads. Not fun. I remember the day I was on my way to classes and had to brake and turn left at an intersection. Well, I turned left all right, but the car didn't stop when I put on the brake. I slid right through the stop sign, keeping the wheel turned to the left all the time. Good thing no one was coming the other way!

And both my dad and I made it home through the Blizzard of '78, after 2 p.m. when Governor Garrahy shut the state down because driving was too hazardous, when many other people's cars got buried in snow and they spent a week at the train station or the bus station or the hospital...so I can do it. But it's not fun and it's frightening.

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» Wednesday, February 07, 2007
!@!#!$!%!!$!#!
My nose is still clogged, especially in the morning. I'm still trying to cough up something. I'm still losing my voice at night. Will this cold ever give up?

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Post Library
I had a half hour left of lunch on the way home, so I stopped at Big Lots. Found some cute things for Easter and a couple more things for Valentines Day.

Found something Really Cool for James for Valentines Day, too!

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Battle of the Books
Apparently I can't go too long without having a kerfluffle with the Cobb County library system.

I've had problems with them before. Once they told me I had a book that was three weeks late. I've been taking books from the library for 40 years now and have never brought back a book more than two days late in all that time. Another time they told me I had not returned a book that I had returned with three other books. When I walked into the library and pointed out that the book they said I had not returned was back on the shelf, they said, "Well, we might have more than one copy!" in huffy tones. I looked. This was a very obscure book about symbols in advertising and they only had one copy.

Both of these mistakes happened when I returned books through the book drop. I now return my books directly to the librarian's desk. Funny it hasn't happened since then, huh?

I may have mentioned I borrowed the other four Five Little Peppers books through interlibrary loan. I picked up the first two on January 24. I noticed that one book had a due date of January 30 on it, the other February 1. I was just about to ask about it when the librarian handed me the little receipt that they put in all library books now. It said the books were due February 7. The librarian said clearly to me "These books are due back on February 7." When I came home and checked my online account, it also said the books were due February 7.

We had two messages from the branch library from which I had picked up the books on the answering machine yesterday. One said that I had two library books that were overdue and that there were fines on them. The next said that a mistake had been made and that the books were not overdue but the librarian wanted to talk to me. I went to the computer, checked my account, and sure enough, the dates that had, until Monday, had said February 7, now had other dates on them and fines listed.

Before I could call that particular library this morning, the central library called me complaining about the books. I told them that I had received conflicting information about the volumes, but that I had received three different inputs that the books were due February 7, not on the dates indicated on the books. I was told frostily that I should have known the actual due date was the one on the books, despite what the librarian, the receipt, and the original computer listing said.

So I have to go over there at lunchtime and straighten out the mess.

[Update: 2:30 p.m. Went to library during lunch hour. Explained. They pulled up my account. Sure enough, books show as due February 7. Librarian checks books in and removes $13 in fines. We okay again.]

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» Monday, February 05, 2007
Monday Madness

1. What is your favorite main course to prepare?

Chicken cacciatore. Chicken pieces, Campbell's roasted garlic and tomato soup for the sauce, some mushrooms and a green pepper, a crusty loaf to "zoop" in the gravy...ah, heaven.

2. What is your favorite side dish to prepare?

Fried rice Rice'a'Roni. I love the crunch the slivered almonds give to it.

3. Do you like to bake? If so, what is your favorite?

I bake wine biscuits at Christmastime. Recipe is at top.

4. What one dish would you like to learn to cook?

Something with grilled scallops. Yum.

5. What is your worst cooking disaster?

The time I forgot the rice was cooking because I was working on a web page and it burned to the bottom of the saucepan.

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Oh, Bother...
Ultimatedisney.com is reporting that Leonard Maltin has stated that there will be no more Walt Disney Treasure sets coming out. Snellfrocky. Hangnails. Dirty socks.

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» Sunday, February 04, 2007
Super Weekend
On Saturday we were woken by the idiots from Circuit City again, wanting to know if we want to renew our extended warranty on the television. Are you guys calling again? A few minutes later our lawn guy showed up, which put an end to sleeping later.

We had the usual grocery errands, then a sojourn to the hobby shop, then came home for about an hour to cuddle the critters.

We had a games night at the Lawsons' starting at five: the gals usually get together and play board games and the guys play something guy-ish, like Pirates or an aviation card game. Tonight they spent the night "solving the world's problems." :-) We played Cranium and a game where you finish quotations and another game which I can't recall the name of, dealing with words.

We're hosting a games' night next Saturday.

Today we drove up to Chattanooga. Love to go up occasionally and pop into A.C. Moore; wish they had one here close. (The closest one in Georgia is in Columbus, which is further away than Chattanooga.) It takes about eighty minutes to get there, so we listened to OTR on the way up and back: two Supermans, a Green Hornet, Dragnet, The Whistler, an adaptation of the Fibber McGee and Molly movie Heavenly Days!, and part of The Great Gildersleeve.

Moore has some completely different things from both Michael's and JoAnn, and many of their decorations are bargain-priced: I picked up simple Valentines Day hearts for a dollar apiece. I also hadn't found any religious-themed Easter decorations in either Michael's or JoAnn or, ironically, that many in Hobby Lobby, which is closed on Sunday because the owners are devout Christians. Moore's didn't have a lot of Easter decorations out yet, but I did find an Easter banner (I completely forgot to look for a Valentine one) with a cross on it.

Did find some cool "leafing" paint pens. Supposely these put a shiny metallic mark on your crafts, not just a metallic color like most paint pens. James got a silver one for use on models and I couldn't decide between gold (which would be the most useful) and copper (which I adore), so I bought both.

James grilled a steak when we got home and then we put on The Game! We've been waiting for this one in anticipation every time the commercials came on.

No, not the Super Bowl. Who wants to watch football? We're watchin' the Puppy Bowl! Right now the Kitty Half-Time Show is on.

I notice they are refining these things as the years go on. The first Puppy Bowl was basically a webcam on puppies in a football-painted pen, with a cam in the water bowl and different angles with some music. Last year they pumped up the music a little and added the Kitty Half-Time Show with kittens playing with cat toys on a platform. This year they seem to be editing the action so we don't watch five minutes of puppies going to sleep. The kittens don't seem all that playful this year; they have a disco ball effect and I think it's bothering them a little. There's a orange-tabby-and-white guy that is quite adorable, though.

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» Friday, February 02, 2007
What I Did on My Lunch Hour
Took photos of the birds at the feeder and after work made a Birdwatching Page.

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Friday Five

This week's:

1. How far back can you trace your family tree?

Well, my father's father and mother came from an area of Italy called Quarchina. I don't know the names of my great-greats from that side of the family. In Italy, people are not "hardheaded" or stubborn, they are "Calabrese," because apparently people from Calabria are the most stubborn people on earth. After years of dealing with my dad, my mom used to claim that "the Quarchinese" were just as bullheaded as the Calabrese. :-) She also said this was something I inherited from my father. LOL.

My mother's parents came from Ischia, which is an island off the coast of Naples. I don't know their parents' names, either, but I do know they were both the children of tenant farmers.

2. What is the most interesting (or strange) thing you've heard about one of your relatives?

My mother's father's mother was killed by a falling rock in an earthquake after Vesuvius threw one of its volcano temper-tantrums. She was protecting her baby, my grandfather's little sister, and a rock struck her on the chest. She survived for about a year but I guess had internal injuries and finally died. This was bad news for my grandfather since not only did he lose his mom, but when his father remarried he got the stepmother from Hell.

3. How do you feel about legacy names like John Henry Smith IV or naming children after other relatives?

Fine with me as long as it is not a name that will allow other children to taunt the particularly named child. However, James is a "II" not a "junior" because his dad had a brother who was a junior who committed suicide.

4. Would you consider yourself and/or your family to be traditional?

Oh, yeah. Very Italian traditional. We ate Italian food and my parents spoke Italian to other members of the family, although I never learned it. Some of my cousins did. My dad was so puzzled when he had his basic training in Georgia during World War II and talked to people in the area who were of Italian descent. They ate Southern food and could not talk Italian. He thought all people who had parents from the old country ate the traditional foods and spoke the language.

5. What is one tradition you have passed on to your children and/or plan to pass on to them?

Have no children to pass on traditions to. I don't think I can teach the dog to bake wine biscuits. She'd just eat the dough. :-)

Last week's:

1. Would you rather have a fun job that doesn't pay well or a boring job that does?

Depends on if the "fun" job gives you a living wage. I've no desire to be rich. I just want the bills paid and be able to buy books and to go on vacation once in a while.

2. Would you sacrifice your morals for a job?

No.

3. Would you ever take a job that requires you to be in costume?

Again, what kind of costume? Yogi Bear I don't want to be. However, being a docent at a historical site might be cool.

4. What is your fantasy job?

Research librarian at the National Archives or the Smithsonian. Imagine working with all those cool historical documents and artifacts. ::drool:: Of course that would mean I'd have to live in Washington  D.C. Darn. I guess I need to find a fantasy job in New Hampshire...

5. Would you like fries with that?

I'd prefer a baked potato with some butter, please.

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Whether the Weather
Groundhog Day at Holiday Harbour.

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» Thursday, February 01, 2007
Thursday Threesome

Cookery? ...or Kookery?

::Slicing and dicing::

Onesome: Slicing-- your way through the fairways of life? Terrible metaphor, -eh? Do you have metaphor or simile that just drives you bonkers when you hear it?

Not that I recall. Some are kind of silly, but I use them myself. Like "sick as a dog." How sick is a dog? Since Willow can't talk, there's no way I can find out. :-)

Twosome: and-- on and on and on. What's the duration of your 'long' phone calls? You know, the ones where you just chat and chat and chat? Guys, you may be able to pull an exemption on this one...

Gosh, I used to talk up to a half hour a night with my mom. I supposed I'd talk that long to someone I hadn't heard from in a while. A lot of my friends have blogs or send e-mail. There's just no need to talk that long. The person I've talked with the longest is my friend Liz. She used to call once a year, so it took that long to do all the catching up.

Threesome: dicing-- up anything for the game this weekend? ...or are you taking advantage of the sales? ...or is it a case of "what game?"

What game?

Oh, that one. I think we're going to Chattanooga on Sunday, to go to A.C. Moore and the Books-a-Million there (maybe they have the magazine James is looking for) and the Hamilton Mall.

Now we have a "games night" on Saturday night, but I don't think anyone is interested in the bunch of us playing "Imaginiff" and "Cranium" and eating pizza. :-)

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Missed It By Thaaaaaat Much
The snow passed us by. There was a sprinkling of white under some of the trees when we got up this morning, but it was rapidly being dissolved by rain. There is a coating of ice on the boards of the deck closest to the door, but it is already crumbling along the edges as the temp edges up toward 40°F.

I'm busy this morning but restless and can't settle. The cough comes once in a while to shake me up.

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Desperate for a Drink
Sad desperation.

U.S. Doctors Warn of Poisoning From Hand Gels

We heard this on the Channel 38 news last night, too.

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Ten Years Later...
Just heard this on Today, too.

Final Potter Launch on July 21

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