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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» Friday, March 30, 2007
Respite
It was so nice and cool today, with a brisk wind. It wasn't even 60°F at 2 p.m. when I took Willow out for a walk. All it needed was to add the brine scent from the ocean and it would have almost been like a day near the shore. The pine pollen has made my eyes itch, however, and my joints are aching despite the extra exercise. I envied Rick Steves up in those clear Tuscan hills today!

Otherwise it was a very frustrating day: I could not get connected with the printers. I have to log on through an internet portal which connects me with my files at work. It also is supposed to allow me access to my printers to print the things that are 24 miles across town, but despite rebooting four times I never did connect with the printers. Other people have had this problem before, but I usually just reboot once and the connection comes up. Annoying.

Willow had an encounter with the Dreaded Dalmatians again tonight: I took her out while James was Otherwise Engaged. They were running loose again. Willow immediately bowed up with all the fur along her spine standing erect like a porcupine's quills. With a little snarl she dashed after them, to be brought up short on the leash. The female dog just flees, but the male wants to make friends and play-bows to her. Willow will have none of it. They are interlopers on her territory and she wants them off!

It's funny she has no problem with them when they are over three times her size, but she tries to disappear behind me when Kristi's two pug dogs are outside.

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The Yellow Lawns of Georgia
Pollen Coats Southern States in Yellow Sheen

There was even a feature on the news about this last night.

Right now our lawn guy is on the front porch, blowing the pollen off with his leaf blower...

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Something More Addicting Than Chocolate
Students Give Up Social Networks for Lent

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Friday Five

1. If you had to choose being blind or deaf, what would you choose and why?

Neither sounds appealing, but deaf, I think. I could still read without having to learn Braille or resort to books on tape and could read closed captions when they had them.

But I wouldn't be able to hear James, or Pidgie or birdsong or Christmas music or George Winston or Rupert Holmes...so that is hard.

2. What is the best smell?

Freshly baked Italian bread...drool...after that, gingerbread.

3. Would you rather be hot or cold?

Cold...cold...cold. You can put more clothing on when you're cold, or use a heating pad. When you're hot there's only so much you can take off; when you get down to your skin and you're still warm, you've run out of options (unless you're like Sidney Smith who Seigfried Farnon quotes in "Merry Gentlemen": "Heat, ma'am! It was so dreadful here, that I found there was nothing left for it but to take off my flesh and sit in my bones"; I think of that quote often in the summer!).

4. What's the worst feeling in the world?

Knowing that you or someone you care for is very ill.

5. Would you rather have something hurt or something be itchy?

Hurt. I can take an aspirin. Almost nothing makes an itch go away. In fact I've had itches that hurt.

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Gertrude Ederle's Successor
Driving Directions From Chicago to London

Seen at Daniel's blog, from other sources.

Maybe Pops Racer can build a a Mach 5 for this purpose? :-)

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» Thursday, March 29, 2007
All Points
All you can see outside, it seems, is yellow. There is a coating of pine pollen over everything. The bricks on the front porch and the boards on the deck are yellow. When I look out the dining room windows, over the green leaves and the brown branches, I see a glowing yellow sheen over everything. The air is filled with pollen grit and makes your mouth feel sandy. I am tempted to grab the hose and drench the front porch, but it's no use until the deluge is over.

Yesterday I decided not to brave the grit or the sun. Instead of a 15-minute walk after Rick Steves' daily journey, I did 15 minutes on the exercise bike while watching Mission Organization and then used the rest of my lunch time to rearrange the closet in the spare room. It needed the boxes stored within rearranged so that the stepladder and the wrapping paper containers would fit better. I emptied almost the entire bottom part of the closet to "start fresh."

A couple of the boxes were pretty heavy and I brought the two TV Guide boxes upstairs as well.

I have an old elbow injury I suffered back in the mid-1980s in which the point of my elbow was cracked. Eight years ago, when my office moved from Buckhead to the Koger Center, I had to help pack boxes of contract folders and hurt both my elbow ligaments. Sometimes the left elbow hurts enough to wake me up during the night.

I finished my dinner late and had to hurry to get going. I had indigestion before I'd eaten half of it, but couldn't stop to get anything else: I had to be at the South Cobb Government Center by 7 p.m. Our Homeowner's Association was having its first meeting; the builder was turning over the association to us.

It was a revealing meeting. Out of a neighborhood of 33 homes, only ten families showed up and one sent a proxy. James volunteered to be on the board and is now vice president. We had a nice chat and also discussed some problems, like excessive street parking and the wayward Dalmatians, and then adjourned. On my way home (James joined me from work), the left elbow really began to hurt and continued all night.

The intensity of the pain was a bit frightening, but it wasn't radiating from my chest and shoulder, but from the elbow. I couldn't find a comfortable position for the arm, though, and finally stretched out on the sofa. Some cereal, at least, had helped the worst of the queasiness from supper.

Still hard to get to sleep. The elbow was better this morning but is aching now after a day of typing purchase orders and e-mails.

Today I vacuumed the stairs and folded clothes instead of cleaning a closet during lunch. :-)

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Thursday Threesome

::Yankees Opening Day::

Onesome: Yankees-- How about it? Are you a baseball fan? ...or would you rather watch the grass grow?

Grass grow? I'd rather do housework.

(I don't mind having baseball on the radio in the background if I have a book or something else interesting to do. It reminds me of my dad on summer nights.)

Twosome: Opening-- Day? Opening Season? Mervyn's "Open, open, open" commercials? What opening do you wait for?

October 1! (Or at least the day they put the fall decorations out at the craft stores.)

Threesome: Day-- by day we learn something: playing hardball, what have you learned this week? (Okay, discoveries count...)

Don't lift boxes that are too heavy for a once-fractured elbow. The pain isn't pretty.

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» Wednesday, March 28, 2007
EEEEEEK!
How you know it's really spring in Georgia: You find one of these in the downstairs coat closet.

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It's Easy Being Green
Two days ago you could look down our back yard to the property in the rear and see it clearly. There were only tiny buds on the trees.

It's like the trees leafed overnight! These are not full, dark green summer leaves, of course, but in the space of two days the view has become more obscured by pale green. It seems particularly pronounced this morning; I don't remember that much greenery even yesterday when I walked Willow when I arrived home.

James pointed out the grass has basically done the same thing, although it has already been cut for the first time this season.

The temperature will still be in the low 80s today. In a word...or maybe a grunt...ugh!

[Update 12:45 p.m.: My God, I think more leaves have grown in the past three hours...]

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Disney and Song of the South
Song of the South Release Mulled Despite Possible Controversy
Pappas said it's not clear that the movie is intentionally racist, but it inappropriately projects Remus as a happy, laughing storyteller even though he's a plantation worker.
So Remus' fault is that he's happy at his work? People who do manual labor for other people can't enjoy their work? My uncle spent his entire life being a gardener at a country club, where I daresay many rich snobs looked down on him. Wasn't it okay for him to enjoy his job? He did anyway, even if twee WASPs might have seen him as "just another wop."

I've seen Song of the South. And yes, it's full of depressing stereotypes as, unfortunately, were most films of that time. But as Leonard Maltin points out in The Disney Films, despite the stereotypes and the dialog, James Baskin's Uncle Remus is certainly a better mentor to little Johnny than his neglectful, self-absorbed parents. He actually cares for the child and is a superior role model compared to people who are supposedly his "betters." Within the absurd and demeaning strictures of the time his Remus has dignity, which is more than anyone can say for the indignity Butterfly McQueen had to endure with poor featherheaded Prissy. I didn't see anyone blocking the DVD release of Gone With the Wind, or Shirley Temple's The Little Colonel, which, despite the classic stair dance, contains some of the worst stereotypes ever placed on film.

Song of the South is now a living history lesson. Let us make use of the lesson, not suppress it.

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» Tuesday, March 27, 2007
We Got Powder!
Unfortunately it isn't the kind that's good for skiing.

It's as if every pine tree in Atlanta exploded. It was okay over the weekend, then I strolled out to the car at lunch yesterday and found it had turned from purple to yellow. This is the second day in a row I've rinsed it off when I got home. When I take Willow out to the back yard, my shoes turn yellow. The porch is yellow, the steps are yellow, the driveway is yellow. I have to wipe my shoes and Willow's feet off with the dishtowel in the foyer usually reserved for paws on rainy days.

So in a way it's providential that it got warm, since I would feel like I was wasting electricity if I had the A/C on when it was cooler. This way the fans are not pulling all that nasty yellow dust into the house. It took us ages to clean it all up last year.

Time for the sign again:

WELCOME TO THE ATLANTA POLLEN FESTIVAL
Please hold your breath.

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» Monday, March 26, 2007
ANS
It was an accident. She had too many drugs in her system. Her autopsy report is on the web, for gossakes. Basta!

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Glare
I shouldn't have mentioned the fluorescents at work. I see building maintenance went by and replaced all the dud bulbs in the hall. Now under every light it's like being in direct sunlight. Yow. It wouldn't be bad except I face directly into one of those lights because of the way my cubicle is set up. I have a foam board blocking part of the light, but it doesn't cover the entire width of the fixture. I guess I need a second one, but it was hard enough getting it up there because I don't have a ladder and had to crawl on the desk instead. Meanwhile my eyes feel like I've just thrust my head in a bouquet of flowers and let the allergens do their dirty work. It's like they are twice their normal size and itch fiercely.

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Monday Madness

1. What kind of automobile do you drive?

A PT Cruiser.

2. What kind of automobile do you WISH you drove?

I am driving it. (Although it would be cool to have a "neat little roadster" of the vintage that Nancy Drew drove in the original novels.)

3. When is the last time you bought a vehicle (new or used)?

2004.

4. What is your color of choice as far as vehicles go?

Silver. (But they didn't have a silver one on the lot, so the PT is Concord grape color.)

5. Do you regularly have your oil changed?

Yes, although I'm overdue now.

6. How long do you generally keep a vehicle before thinking about buying a new one?

Usually until it gets too expensive with repairs to keep. The last one I drove six years. I couldn't stand the constant oil leak anymore.

7. What kind of automobile will you buy next?

Another PT or a hybrid if I can afford one. My friend Alice has a very nice small SUV hybrid. If they make a hybrid PT I would have it made. :-)

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» Sunday, March 25, 2007
Where Was I?
Oh, yeah, Fry's, lunch, stop at JoAnn and Barnes & Noble and Michaels.

I bought a new Uno game, it's the American Kennel Club version and you can pick out your favorite dog group, although B&N only had herding, nonsporting, and terriers. You can guess which one I bought. I must remember to bring it to Atomicon. Amy should get a kick out of it.

It was okay sleeping last night, but the day progressively got worse and worse, which is why we popped on the A/C. It's probably for the best, since the pine trees are pollinating and the dust that comes in during that period is always horrendous. Everything is coated with a fine yellow dust; the fans pull it in and it scatters everywhere: window sills, the furniture, the fan blades...ugh. The allergist has always told me not to keep the windows open during this time of the year.

We did pass a milestone today: we have finished the last of the original upgrades we wanted to make to the house by installing a ceiling fan in the second bedroom that is my craft room.

Next we have to think about getting the yard fenced, and it's a consideration since it won't be just the expense of the fence itself. When our neighbors next door put up their fence, I think they didn't use the entire width of their property because there is no way to tell the property lines, so they played it safe. (Supposedly there are marks—red ties on trees—near the back fence that defines each side of the property boundaries, but only one tree has a red marker in our back yard. So if we want to properly bound our property before putting up a fence we will need to call a surveyor. $$$)

We're also considering—and please don't faint anyone who has heard me complaining endlessly about the lights at work—putting in some compact fluorescents in various places in the house. I still refuse to have them in the reading lamps since fluorescents give me headaches and make me light-headed. However, I think they could be useful in places like the garage and anywhere that has a frosted cover like the room lights. (My main problem with the lights at work is that they are not diffused in any way—no frosted covers as many offices have—and have reflectors on the fixtures; the light is very glaring. About half the people who have offices keep the overheads off and instead use lamps with incandescents, so I'm not the only one who has problems with them.) I'm willing to try, not just for the sake of the electric bill, but to be more "green."

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We Surrender
I just lit off the air conditioner. It was 82°F inside and rising (and still 78 outside) at 8:45 p.m. Temp has already dropped three degrees. Sigh...

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» Saturday, March 24, 2007
Four O'Clock and All is Sizzling
It's 83 frappin' degrees outside. I have all the fans on the sunny sides of the house blowing out and the ones on the shady side blowing in. It's still...moist and sticky.

Pidgie is sitting on my shoulder singing sweet nothings in my ear. Willow is patiently awaiting James' return from the IPMS meeting. Me, too, because we're going to Fry's afterwards. (Not for any reason, just because we haven't been there for a while.)

Due to circumstances beyond my control (being in the bathroom until three a.m.), we slept really late this morning. James has been feeling ragged out for a week, so it helped. After he left for the IPMS meeting, I trundled the car to Sam's for gas (unfortunately it wasn't as cheap as Atlantagasprices.com said it was) and went inside to hunt down Wild Wild West and McHale's Navy. They only had the former, so I bought that—and two pounds of strawberries home.

Of course since there are now strawberries there must be cream so I dropped in at Food Depot for some ReddiWhip. Also bought some Easter cards.

I love second season of Wild Wild West since it has my two favorite episode of all, "Night of the Returning Dead" with Peter Lawford and Sammy Davis Jr and "Night of the Man-Eating House" about an old house that weeps...

James is home...TTFN.

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» Friday, March 23, 2007
Friday Five

1. If you could suddenly speak one language fluently (that you don't currently speak) what would it be?

There are a lot of Spanish people in our area, so speaking Spanish would be the most useful. I can already understand some of the signs, since many of the words are similar to Italian.

2. If you were to suggest a foreign film, that you really enjoyed, what one would you suggest?

I can't think of one right now. It's probably British.

3. If you had to call another country home (other than the one you currently live in) what one would you choose?

Scotland or Ireland, probably.

4. If you went out to buy an import music CD, what one would you buy?

Don't know.

5. If you were to chose an ethnic dinner, what would it be?

Chinese, of course. Pork fried rice from Dragon 168.

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Blessed Relief...
...I got to sleep late.

It's certainly not from the heat, which, if it didn't reach 80°F, certainly brushed it.

I had a plan when I went to BJs this morning, but was unable to carry it out because it had everything but what I wanted. Blast. ::grumble:: Came home via Lowes and Borders (just in time to watch Rick Steves tour Edinburgh), and ended up doing some reorganization in the bedroom. It's that depressing time of the year when you have to put away the nice, cozy winter things. Sigh.

All the rest of the utility bills came, so I was able to schedule all for payment and still stick some money in savings. Hopefully with all the bookcases now purchased I can do so every payday. (Except that vet visit I'm dreading, and, of course, Atomicon.)

And then I began to trim the tree.

(Not that tree...LOL.)

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» Thursday, March 22, 2007
Sun and Shade
Another warm, breezy day, but it was cloudy during the daily walk, which was super. Rick Steves was in North Wales. All that nice, cool-looking greenery, jacket weather, and clouds. Nice.

I spent a frustrating hour trying to help someone who has been continually contacting me for help. After investigating I have concluded there is nothing I can do to help because what she is looking for doesn't exist. I hope the person understands. The bi-monthly calls are getting a bit much.

To get the purple glitter off the craft table, I had to wash it down. It would simply not brush off. It was either that or turn a fan on it. Water is a lot less untidy. :-)

I didn't see Mr. Squirrel on the bird feeder today. I wonder if he hit cayenne. The feeder was empty this morning, so I slipped out to remedy that. While I was scooping seed into it, three little brown-headed nuthatches flittered up to sit on the feeder hanger to check out what I was doing. I tried only tilting my head sideways slightly, to better see them, but at the movement they fled, uttering excited chips. They returned later to feast. I love watching them sitting on the deck rail, hammering open the sunflower seeds.

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Thursday Threesome

From the Advertising Department:

::Precision Color Management::

Onesome: Precision--ist? Just how picky are you about 'getting things done' yourself? Is "good enough" good enough? ...or do you want to get it "just perfect" every time?

Depends on what it is or who it is for. One of the bookcases downstairs has a shelf that's facing backward. We would have had to remove 25 nails in the back and then take the shelf out to turn it. It's not worth it. But if we were putting the bookcase together as a gift or professionally, it would be done correctly.

Twosome: Color-- preferences? What colors would you like to try for livening up the place a bit?

Oh, gosh. We'd thought about painting before we moved in, but with all we had to do it was just Too Much. I like what they do on some of the decorating shows, painting just one accent wall. A nice burgundy or brownish red would be nice on the television wall, although most of it would be covered, and it would fit the year-round color scheme well.

Threesome: Management?-- Hey, are you in management or are you a line employee? Students: what do you plan to be? Moms: you get a pass since you're in administration already <g>!

Management? Ugh. Who wants to be management? Not only do you have your own problems to solve, you have to help solve everyone else's, too. Helping someone one-on-one is one thing, being emotionally smothered every day by the horde is another.

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» Wednesday, March 21, 2007
Spring Has Sprung...
...and all that. A very sunny day, warm and in the 70s, but with a good breeze so it didn't get too overwhelming. The doors and windows are all flung wide open to catch the air. Lunched to Rick Steves wandering about Bath and York, then Willow and I went for our usual walk, I did a load of laundry, and some bends and stretches before getting back to work.

Work is...frustrating. Doing government purchasing is like being asked to cover the outfield in baseball with hobbles on your legs. You can make a catch now and then, but it takes a lot more effort to do so. Working at home helps: I can walk around when I am trying to think of how to tell someone they won't get what they need because there are more hoops to go through, and I have George Winston and Native American flute music to keep me on an even keel.

After work I did some quick bookcase switching downstairs and finally relegated the foam fold-up extra bed to the library. It's too big to sit in the bay, but should work okay in another location when that gets rearranged. I'm going to put one of the bookshelves that I built into the spare bedroom, with some of my favorite books tucked in it, like the John Verney Callendar family novels, Nick O'Donohoe's Crossroads books, etc. Finally unpacked the rest of the photo boxes, too, so the last box really is gone.

And St. Joseph and his fruit have been retired from the china cabinet shelf in favor of a spring sign, a china sheep made of flowers, two lambs, and a spring rabbit.

My "restore-the-Christmas-ornaments" project is in mediocre shape. I am trying to replace the glitter that lies lengthwise on these six long ornaments that used to be on my Mom's tree. I can't seem to lay the glue in a thin enough line to keep it from dripping on one side or the other, and the glitter is driving me mad. I haven't used glitter since my teen years and it's grown much, much finer. The purple has been the worst. It is so susceptible to static electricity that I can't even properly sweep it back up off the craft table and into a paper for pouring back into the bottle. It sticks to my hands, has coated the table with a fine film of sparkle, and even sticks to the paper. I'm really glad I'm finally done with the one purple ornament and only have the red one to go.

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» Monday, March 19, 2007
Hot Stuff
I'm trying to keep the squirrels away from the bird feeder. We'd tried black pepper, but it didn't help. Yesterday I dashed some cayenne liberally in the seed.

Evidently this squirrel, at least, likes spicy food.

squirrel upside down on bird feeder

I want it to keep away from the birds' food, but I have to admit, this looks really funny and I giggle every time I catch this pose.

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Einstein Found!
EinsteinOnce upon a time, in a universe far, far away (a.k.a. 1964), a couple of months after I turned eight, the Providence Journal began running a comic strip called "Einstein" about a sentient, globetrotting (and "storybook-trotting" as well) dog and his human, a little boy named Leroy. Every strip (or, perhaps, every other strip), had some sort of a puzzle to be solved or activity to be done.

The strip only lasted about a year, but I vividly remembered it and recall being disappointed when my dad cleaned the cellar and tossed a big pile of old newspapers that I didn't have a chance to go through because I was hoping I could find some "Einstein" strips. However, as the years passed, it got to the point where I wondered if I hadn't imagined the strip, then I made a few inquiries into the newsgroup rec.arts.comics.strips and the second time someone came up with some information for me.

The short saga of the search is told here: Adventure! Fun! Puzzles!

Anyway, in January, I got a note from a gentleman named Pete (I don't know if he wants me to use his full name, so I won't), who said he'd found my blog entry after searching for "Einstein" on e-Bay. He also remembered the strip. His recollections:
"I remember several stories. They went to Holland in a balloon. There was a wild west story. In August of 1964, they followed Alice through Wonderland. I still have the Cheshire Cat that I carved at age nine, per instructions in the strip, from a bar of soap. And they encountered the Sphinx with Einstein answering the riddle about what walks on four legs, then two, then three (a human going from baby to man to old man with cane)."
Pete then said he collected the strip every day, but had lost most of them. He then said he would send me a copy of any strip he could find.

Well, he could only find one, the August 6, 1964, strip in the Alice sequence, but here it is, almost 43 years and many memories later:

Einstein helps Alice and finds Leroy

He does say he intends to go find the rest of them on microfilm and print them off and asks if I would like to have copies. Would I! :-)

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Treat for the Day...
...zeppole time again in Holiday Harbour.

The only place I've seen zeppoles around here are at the Italian deli in Dunwoody, across the street from our vet. But of course they don't bake them there.

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Monday Madness

1. How many times do you wake up during the night?

Many, especially when it's warm and/or I have a hot flash. I have to flip the top of the blanket back to get the breeze from the fan that is always on.

2. On an average, how many hours of sleep do you try to get?

Well, I try to get eight, but that doesn't work out on a work night. The closest I get is 7 1/2 on the days I work at home. Weekends...well, it hasn't been working out to eight hours there, either.

3. What day of the week do you do your "major" housecleaning?

Friday, because every other week is when I'm off, and the other is when I get off an hour early.

4. How often do you move your furniture to clean behind it?

Depends on how movable the furniture is. I also have a wand attachment on the vacuum cleaner to get back in some of those spaces.

5. Do you do your dishes by hand or do you own a dishwasher?

Dishwasher wins! (Although it's not as good as the Bosch we had in the old house. I suspect when "Mr. Dishwasher" needs replacing, we'll get another Bosch.) I will wash a few dishes by hand, and also Mom's china and the patterned Arby's Christmas goblets.

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Happy St. Joseph's Day!

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» Sunday, March 18, 2007
Friday Five (late because the questions weren't up when I looked on Friday and I've just been too darned busy since!)

1. What's your favorite shade of green?

Mint green, followed by what they call "hunter green," or what Crayola calls "forest green."

2. Do you wear green on St. Patrick's Day, and if not, do you ever get pinched?

Nope, 'cause I'm Italian. Our holiday is on the 19th.

3. Do you do anything else to celebrate the holiday?

No. In junior high, I remember, they used to sell white carnations that had been placed in green water, where they wicked up the color into the petals and had green edges. I always bought one, then had an allergy attack when I got home because I'm allergic to flowers.

4. Have you ever consumed a green beer (or any other alcoholic beverage dyed green)?

No. I've never liked alcohol that much, and now I take medication for heart palpitations, so I don't drink any alcohol at all.

5. Do you have a good luck charm, and if so, what is it?

No, but I wear a St. Jude medal. I've had since I was diagnosed with thyroid cancer in 1990.

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Stacks of Books...
...cause stacks of work, but it's fun in Autumn Hollow.

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» Saturday, March 17, 2007
Restock (In More Ways Than One)
We had to do some major food restocking today for lunches (like the Chex Mix whose salt wakes me up on work days) and for the freezer. Due to the vagaries of what is stocked, we had to go to both Costco and BJs. Since we also had JoAnn coupons and I wanted to restock my dwindling Scotch tape supply, we inched our way up to Town Center. There was a massive accident on I-75 North and the freeway was just crawling; everyone evidently decamped, because the alternate route was also backed up.

So we went to the Costco up there and came home past BJs. One of the things we were out of was beef. We bought a big side of round and had the butcher slice it into steaks for us. Even at BJs this was $2.49/pound...ouch!

Next week it will be my turn to restock us on pork. That's only $1.99/pound, thank God.

We're also stocking up for our yearly trip to the mountains with friends, so that added to the tab. Each couple or person brings a certain food or drink; we always sign up for cookies and crackers. We have the Chips Ahoy to satisfy the sweet tooths (sweet teeth?) and are going for healthier things for the rest, like protein bars, low-cal granola bars, probably low-salt and whole grain crackers.

But it was a nice day for going from store-to-store, cool, breezy, bright perfect blue sky overhead with some of the most beautiful cirrus clouds I've ever seen. One did indeed form a perfect "mare's tail" shape above as we emerged from the hobby shop. Pity it will be hot and smothery again by next week.

And then from restocking the pantry we went to restocking books again, but more about that in Autumn Hollow.

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Happy Birthday, Miss Willow!
Age nine today.

Willow at age nine

She's looking at food, of course. LOL.

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» Friday, March 16, 2007
"Pork Stuff"
James made an adaptation of this recipe for the first time last November, then again for the New Year's Eve party at Bill and Caran's house. He had no ideas for supper on Monday so he made the same mixture, but we had no wonton wrappers. Instead we had it in flour tortillas. Not bad, although the crunch was missing. Might be good as a "fork food" served over chow mein noodles.

In any case, I had the remainder while watching Rick Steves' Europe. Rick was in Budapest today. For lunch he had "authentic Hungarian goulash," which I discovered is actually a soup, not a stew as it is portrayed so many times. The museums look fabulous.

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Notes from the [Cold] Front
Zowee! The temperature has dropped 10 degrees in four hours. After the rain stopped the wind simply picked up for several hours and whistled around the house. It's much cooler than they said it was going to be, too, already 50°F when they had predicted no lower than 54. The sky is still leaden, but not low and glowering like when it was pouring this morning.

It's a good thing I am working at home today because when the wind went on it's "rampage" suddenly there was a loud, hollow thump from outside. It had knocked our empty trash container off the curb and flat on its side into the middle of the street. For some reason, the container always seems to end up wobbled precariously half on and half off the curbing. Normally I would have put it back in place after I got home or when I took Miss Wil out for our walk, but I was able to run outside to rescue it immediately rather than have it be in the way or risk it being struck by someone.

The wind still gusts up a bit. I still have the rear windows open for now and I can hear the windchimes in the back yard singing. Every so often I hear a jangle-rattle-bang-clump! as the wind catches the banner out front on the porch.

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» Thursday, March 15, 2007
A Cloudy Day
Frustrating, too, as in every time I thought I could accomplish something, something else came up to stop it.

However, Willow did get to chase Mr. Upside-down Squirrel three times today. She seems to be limping occasionally on her right foreleg, but it's variable. When we went out at lunchtime, her stride seemed fine and we did the entire walk. And she seems fine when running for food is involved!

Little Miss will be nine on Saturday, so it may be a touch of arthritis.

I finally got Pidgie to "swim" a little this afternoon. When I let him sip from my glass he always fluffs up like he wants to take a swim in my glass. (Merlin used to do that; it was...disconcerting. The first time he did it he jumped in a full glass of water and I had to pull him out by his tail. He emerged sputtering and wet...and angry at me because I'd interrupted his dunk!) But usually when I put water in a bowl, he's afraid to get in it.

Today I got the very shallow pie plate that belongs to Mother's china and put a little water in that. Then I put "Girlfriend" in the middle of the dish. He squeaked and bobbed on the edge of the dish, fluffing up and opening his wings as if he wanted to jump in, but wouldn't chance it. Finally I put him on my hand and put the hand in the plate. He waddled down right into the water and got a bit of his chest and the edges of his wings wet, then decided that was enough. But it was cute while it lasted.

Rick Steves was in Poland, including at Auschwitz. Even on television the place has a chill on it.

High tomorrow only 58°F? Ahhhhh...

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Thursday Threesome

From an old Diet Coke commerical

::Starry Eyed Surprise::

Onesome: Starry-- skies above? Can you see stars in the sky at night? ...or are you over whelmed by city lights? (...or blocked by trees?)

Pretty much overwhelmed by lights, but we can see the main stars in the usual Northern Hemisphere constellations. Since we have a streetlight right in front of our house, it's bad out there. The deck used to be better, but the folks next door love their deck and back yard and always have their porch and floods on. Makes it harder.

Twosome: "Eyed"-- wondered how well we all see: Glasses? Contacts? Nothing? Just curious...

Glasses since fifth grade. I started having trouble seeing the blackboard and my best friend noticed that when the teacher wrote assignments, I would sometimes have to get up to get a closer squint at her writing, so she told my mother. Next thing I knew we were downtown at the Alice Building where I had my eyes examined and my glasses fitted. I still remember the first time I wore glasses. The Alice Building was built early in the century and still had one of those big staircases leading upstairs. Since I was afraid of elevators, we came down the stairs instead (I don't remember the doctor's name; I think he was on the third floor—very old-fashioned office building like you see in 1930s-1940s movies, with the narrow corridors and doors with frosted glass panels in them and the business names painted in black and gold on the doors) and when I came out the front door of the building, right on to Westminster Street, the first thing I saw was the big red WOOLWORTH sign. I exclaimed, "Mommy, I didn't know the world was so bright!" Everything had edges. It was amazing.

Threesome: Surprise-- birthday parties? Are you into them? ...or do you dread someone pulling one on you?

I like going to them. I guess I'd like having one. No one's ever pulled that on me.

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» Wednesday, March 14, 2007
Mystery Solved
We have been occasionally receiving phone messages from people looking for real estate deals. We don't bother to return the calls since they aren't for us. The other night there was a message from FedEx on the machine saying they had tried to deliver something to us and the address was wrong.

When I called up they were trying to deliver the package not to us, but a real estate firm on Cumberland Parkway. Whomever they had tried to deliver it to was no longer there. I told the FedEx lady that the phone number was incorrect, too. Odd.

Today I was working at home, so I picked up the phone when it rang in case it was work related. Instead it was another one of those people calling about some land for sale. I told the gentleman that we weren't selling any land and asked where he'd seen the number. He said there was "a big sign" on highway 141, which is cross town, near Peachtree Industrial Boulevard.

Anyway, I am reading Steve Bass' PC Annoyances and noticed the sidebar about getting out "of Google's Reverse Directory." Just for the heck of it, I type our phone number in the Google search line—

—and came up with a real estate company on a familiar address on Cumberland Parkway.

Evidently they are long gone but have "forgotten" to take one of their signs down.

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» Tuesday, March 13, 2007
Spring is Sprung
I can tell, since my joints ache, my nose runs, and my eyes itch. :-)

The Bradford pear trees are approaching "giant snowball" stage, and all the flowering plums, cherries, and other fruity combinations are abloom in varying shades of pink, violet, and white. Here and there a bright yellow patch of forsythia or daffodils announce the season, and the magnolias are also doing their thing in vivid purple-and-white.

Next it will be the tassels on the pine trees and it will "snow" yellow and the dogwood blossoms will open up to glow pale white in the moonlight.

Today's "almost record high" is supposed to be 81°F. Oh. Joy.

Incidentally, I don't know if the earlier-observed DST is saving energy, but it has sure generated more traffic. Yesterday it took me 75 minutes to get home and it was only Monday. Everyone has exploded outdoors in their cars; I haven't seen traffic like that on Interstate North Parkway since last summer; the turn lane on Windy Ridge was backed up almost to the Weather Channel building and the right lane at Hargrove was backed up past the entrance to Heritage Pointe shopping center. And this is the least crowded of the ways I have to get home. In-credible.

Just realized that since it is now pitch-dark again when I drive to work, I won't be able to watch my favorite patch of trees bloom. This is on the side of I-75 south near the I-285 split, a lovely little grove where the trees are all shades of the spring pink, violet, and white with additions of red from the redbud trees. I really hate driving to work in the dark. To me dark means I should still be asleep and I miss the morning sky telling me it's time to begin the day, and the beautiful colors of the sunrise.

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» Monday, March 12, 2007
John Inman
Hadn't heard about this: Are You Being Served? Star Dies

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Monday Madness

1. Do you believe in reincarnation?

No, but I was thinking this morning that if reincarnation did exist, I'd probably come back as a worm, because I've always been so repelled by them.

2. Do you own any anime figures?

Like plastic gaming figures or action figures? No, but I do have a stuffed baby Kimba the White Lion and a Kimba cloisonné pin.

3. Are you one of the fanfic writers over at www.fanfiction.net?

No, but I know several of them. There's some interesting Remember WENN fanfic there, including one I just found out about over the weekend.

4. Do you review stories which are posted in www.fanfiction.net?

No.

5. Are you looking forward to seeing the third Spider-Man film?

No. I never even saw the second one.

6. Are you looking forward to seeing the Fantastic Four sequel?

No, not a comics person except for the old Comico Jonny Quest titles and the old Quantum Leap comic.

7. Do you like "Deal or No Deal"?

No deal.

8. Are you a television watcher?

Yes, but hardly any network at all, except for House. I like the History Channel, Animal Planet, Discovery Channel, and that ilk.

9. Do you write letters to people?

Not like I used to, but still at Christmastime and I do write long notes in greeting cards if the occasion calls for it.

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Today in History
The anniversary of:

The Blizzard of 1888.

First movie with sound recorded on film.

FDR's first "fireside chat."

Germany's annexation of Austria.

Today is also the birthday of actress Barbara Feldon. Would you believe she is 75 today? Here's a photo of her from last year, taken at a charity function. She looks ageless and still quite lovely, without those artificial-looking, waxy "facelift" features of some of the older actresses.

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Time Out
Back when we were looking for things for the new house, James and I found an incredible deal on these Neverlate 7-Day Alarm Clocks at Linens'n'Things. They were selling them off for $10 each. We were looking for a new dual alarm system like the one that we had that was dying, but this was a better deal.

The main advantage to these clocks is that you can set it for a different time for each day of the week. It would be perfect for a student or someone who had a variable schedule. I don't make much use of it because I must get up at the same time every morning when I do go in to work. However, James sets his alarm early on the days I go into work, but on the days I work at home I shut my alarm off and we both get up at the same time, a half hour after the other rising date. We can also set the Saturday and/or Sunday alarms without worrying that we will forget to change the alarm back for the workweek.

However, I did discover something you had to watch for when turning the clocks forward. I did that procedure on Saturday night a little after eleven, turning both alarms from 11:10 p.m. to 12:10 a.m. Unfortunately I forgot that I also had to switch the clock from Saturday to Sunday, so this morning my clock still thought it was Sunday!

So there went an hour's annual leave. :-) Luckily, though, I could reset James' alarm so he wouldn't be late, too.

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» Sunday, March 11, 2007
Tick...VG
We tried the new breakfast buffet at Sweet Tomatoes this morning. Not as much as might be at Golden Corral, but certainly satisfying, and you could have salad and soup with it as well. I had one slice of French toast made from a baguette slice—a great idea; it remained crispy—a quarter of a Belgian waffle, some oatmeal, an apple, a bowl of "frosted flakes" (they didn't have any non-sugar-sweetened cereal) that were not Kelloggs, and a bowl of chicken soup. Quite nice, and you can use the Sweet Tomatoes lunch coupon if you arrive after eleven. (It also lasts until noon, where most of the other buffets end at 10:30.)

Brief visits to Hobbytown, Cost Plus Warehouse, Bed Bath & Beyond, and JoAnn, then to Borders, where I got the new Ideals for Easter.

We had our dessert first at Bruster's and arrived home rather sunburned since it was bright most of the day. We can both tell we've been out in the sun; we were feeling wrung out by the time we got home. Sun energizes most people, but we both take medication that mades us sensitive to it. Makes me feel as if the sun used a straw to suck out all my energy.

However, we did manage to put up one of the ceiling fans, in the spare bedroom. We started so late that we finished at almost eight.

One more thing ticked off the master list on my PDA. I'll need to call Ikea on Tuesday to see if the shelves are in.

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» Saturday, March 10, 2007
On the Road
So much for the cloudy day with showers with a high of 61°F. I know it was in the 70s and only bearable when we were driving.

I was still looking for a St. Joseph statue, so we searched for a Catholic store that was supposed to be close by, but evidently it had moved long ago, although the sign was still out front. We just gave up, and, after a visit to the hobby shop, drove out to Conyers. We tread downtown carefully, since there is some type of sports event and also the big car show today, but didn't have any trouble with traffic. It was too warm, but otherwise nice: the sky that smudgy, low-contrasty blue that it gets when temperatures rise.

We stopped at the Hobby Lobby in Conyers on our way there and I found some inexpensive Easter signs to use on the front porch. They even had something religious; a nice Irish-looking cross with flowers in front of it.

The monastery was serene and lovely as usual. I found a small St. Joseph's statue to make my St. Joseph's table with—check out Holiday Harbour for a photo. They also had two lovely small fall-oriented stained glass pieces. I especially wanted the autumn woods scene but couldn't think of anywhere to keep it where the light would shine through it so the design would show through, so regretfully left it behind. I also bought a liturgical cookbook (recipes to go with each event of the church calendar) and some "Bible bread," which is flatbread. It came in several flavors; I chose honey. It will probably go well with the pumpkin butter—or maybe even the mint jelly—we bought at the Yellow Daisy Festival.

James got three jars of the Abbey jam which will probably keep him through the year.

We came home past Ikea to pick up two more bookcases; unfortunately they did not have the extra shelves for that particular color bookcase that we needed because this set was supposed to be for the paperbacks. I have a number to call to see when they are coming in. If it's not for a while we can do the opposite side of the room just as well. On the way to Ikea we stopped at Sam Flax, the art supply store, to see if they had an "O" ring for James' airbrush. Surprisingly, they didn't have any airbrush supplies, which was odd because they had everything else. :-) I haven't been in a good art supply store since Binders moved from Lindbergh Plaza and I'd forgotten how much I loved being around all that paper and all those pens! They also had quite a large amount of scrapbooking supplies.

I had one of the Trader Joe Asian noodle bowls for supper. It was good, but really could have used another tablespoon of the sauce! To say there was a paucity of sauce doesn't describe it.

And then came McBride and then wildly racing around the house changing clocks so I don't have to do it later on. I removed all the auto DST options from the computers and VCRs. For my PDA I didn't see a DST option, so I set it on Indiana time since they don't do DST and the clock won't change.

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The Phone Cops Know What Happened Here
Got a call from Bell South while we were at the monastery; they were coming by our house. They said we had a dial tone on the outside line.

Whatever happened, we now have a dial tone on the inside line again, too.

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Stubborn Old Coot
From Elaine's journal:

John Henry at 32: "Mean and Nasty As Ever"

I love it.

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» Friday, March 09, 2007
Friday Five

1. If you could retroactively erase one TV show from the history of entertainment, which one would you choose?

Just one? That's cruel. Seinfeld, maybe?

2. Are you more like your mother or your father?

I wish I were like my mom. She had chutzpah. I'm shy and introverted, like my dad.

3. If you could take a year-long vacation, what would you do?

Travel round the world and go to museums.

4. Can you think of a reason not to answer this question?

What question? :-)

5. What's the nicest thing you've ever done for someone?

It's not a nice thing if you brag about it, so I decline to answer.

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A Friday "Abroad"
Started off at Barnes & Noble, where I was saddened to see the further demise of what had been my favorite cross-stitch magazine. This was the British Quick & Easy, which began as a magazine catering to small designs. They often featured the sampler-type designs of Jo Verso, until, sadly, Ms. Verso died in a car accident.

B&N dropped Q&E for the longest time (about three years) and then started getting it again. But the magazine had changed; the designs were no longer solely small. Some were pretty complicated, overlapping the type of patterns in The Cross-Stitcher, Cross-Stitch Crazy, Cross-Stitch Gold, etc. So why was it still called Quick & Easy?

Now they've tweaked the magazine again, so it is cross-stitch and papercrafts. Like there aren't tons of papercraft magazines out already, while you can hardly find cross-stitch magazines anymore. They are pretty much overwhelmed by quilting and scrapbooking mags. I like to go to the B&N at Bells Ferry because it's got the best supply of cross-stitch magazines.

I ticked off a future Christmas gift at JoAnn and discovered they had a $1 Easter glitter kit like the one they had for Valentine's Day. Also found a little picture for the bath and a future project. Oh, and the "duck tape" to finish repairing my Wide Awake, which has been done. Gas at Costco. A book at Border's.

Found some great, inexpensive Easter decorations at the Dollar Tree in Acworth. This is a new Dollar Tree in a new shopping center, so it was neat and clean, with lots of useful things. They even had Colgate toothbrushes for $1.

Bought a crosspatch puzzle book at Books-a-Million. Yay! They are the only place that carries them any longer.

I was tooling my way home and remembered as I came by Jim Miller Park that the library sale was today. Got there about 45 minutes before closing. Slim pickings. I remember when I loved library sales because I could find the best old children's books. Now it's just modern stuff. But I hold out in hope to find a Beany Malone or a Katie Rose book.

I did find a book called Watch Your Language! about the vagaries of English, and one of the CNN millenium celebration videotapes for a dollar apiece.

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» Thursday, March 08, 2007
"It Might as Well Be Spring..."
Especially when it gets up to 72°F.

It was a normal day here at Chez Young, despite the continued problem with the telephone. (They are all unplugged right now except for the one in the spare room, which I replugged in to test and can't pull out the connector again. But before it got plugged in again, I tried all the phones one at the time. I even tried the library phone in the phone jack in James' hobby room, which has never been used. Nothing. Just a neverending hiss on the line, as if it's in use. I even unplugged the jack for the DSL connection. That wasn't it, either.)

The squirrels continue to assault the bird feeder, although I have scattered pepper liberally on the seed. Apparently they like spicy food. And I really have to laugh, since, because the feeder is hung from a thin hanger, to get to the food the squirrel has to hang upside down, like a trapeze performer. They look absurd. Willow ran out there twice, chasing the "cats," then got bored with the whole thing.

Did discover one thing: we have at least two red-bellied woodpeckers—one was at the feeder today while the other attacked the suet cake. They are very wary; all the other birds will let me photograph them from the window, but these guys flee the moment they see a movement in the glass. Because it was warm I had the back door open and Pidgie watched in wonder as his wild cousins flitted to and from the feeder.

Willow, incidentally, has gotten quite used to the teleworking routine. Today I had my lunch while watching Rick Steves' Europe (London! The British Museum! The Tower of London! ::drool::) and then brought my container (lunch was leftover barbecue chicken wings and potatoes) to the kitchen. When I turned around, there was Miss Willow at the top of the steps waiting for me! "I have to put my shoes on, Willow." ::blink:: "Hold on a minute." ::blink::

Once I had my shoes on she was doing the pogo-stick routine at the door. We had the usual sojourn to the back yard and then once around the neighborhood. Lots of people home. Not sure if folks just work night shift or if there are other teleworkers; I thought for sure I saw a home office and computer on in one open window.

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Idiot Manipulating
Saving Even More Daylight

Bold emphasis is mine:
"Our demand for power, whether through electric lighting, computers or TV, isn't really elastic," says Downing. "We just ask for it at different times." He points out that with the DST extension, Americans living in Grand Rapids, Mich., and farther west in their time zones won't see a sunrise in November until 8:30 a.m. — which means a lit-up house an hour or so longer in the morning, when most families wake up.

Even the Department of Energy (DOE) isn't convinced changing the clocks will make a dent in energy consumption. "The jury on the potential national energy-savings of extending daylight saving time is still out," Craig Stevens, press secretary for the Department of Energy, wrote to TIME in e-mail. "Our preliminary report, based on decades-old information, indicates a very small amount of energy savings."
Earlier in the article there is a comment that there's more need for daylight at 6 p.m. than 6 a.m. Eh? In case they haven't noticed, happy little families like Dick and Jane and Sally and Mother and Father have changed. Dick and Jane don't rise anymore at 7:30 to get dressed, have breakfast and walk to school before the late bell at 8:30 while Father who works in an office goes in at nine and Mother stays home and cleans house. People are on the move a lot earlier. Have you ever seen commuter traffic at 6 a.m.? There's a whole lot of it. Families who have kids to drop off at school/daycare frequently get up at 5 a.m.—or earlier. Bedroom lights, kitchen lights, the television to see weather and traffic reports, coffee makers, opening and closing the refrigerator—don't they use energy?

The excuse that people can go out and do things later is absurd. The sun still sets later in the summer. Without DST, it would simply do it an hour earlier. So what? As a kid, I played under streetlights. And it's cooler after dark.

Oh, yeah, it does get cooler after dark. People turn down air conditioning units and fans. So the lights go on, but the A/C may go off or use less power. Air conditioning guzzles power. Do the lights actually use more power than the air conditioning units?

By the way, if they are so concerned with energy use, why are more business/government buildings being constructed with small or no windows? There are schools being built around us that look like prisons. I remember schools with big windows to let in natural light and they opened to let in fresh air so an A/C unit didn't have to run all year round. Why do kids have to be ossified in buildings with artificial light and air? It's the same in the building in which I work. They have windows, but only for the outer offices, and none of them open. Air circulation in the building, frankly, sucks.

Daylight Savings Tine is a dinosaur. It was originally instituted so that World War I munitions and supply factories, which did not have the fluorescent and halogen lights we do today, could work later. It isn't needed anymore. but if they need to keep the fool thing, it should be where it used to be, last week of October and last week of April.

(So what's going to happen to trick or treat this year? Kids don't want to go out before dark; it's goofy. So we'll have a bunch of kids out later. Bright, guys...)

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Okay, Now This is Too Bizarre
There's no dial tone on any phone in the house.

But the DSL is still working.

James says when you call the house you get a busy signal. Yeah, I can hear the hiss like it's off the hook on the phone in the spare room.

Last time this happened, one of the phones had gone bish. Which means I have to unplug them all one at the time and see which it is.

[Ten minutes later. Hm. Just did them all one at the time. Still no dial tone. Unless two of them are bad...hm...]

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Thursday Threesome

From the Help Files

::Looking for some Direction::

Onesome: Looking-- all around today: what landmark or scene do you look for each morning on the way to work or school or wherever? Is there something on the way you look forward to seeing? ...or do you have something that lets you know you're close and it's time to shift mental gears?

Right now the landmark is that dratted construction within half a mile of work, which means it takes me five minutes extra to get to my building due to the detour. The Koger office park is in the middle of a wetlands and between the entrance and my building is...er, was...a small bridge spanning a little creek. They have torn up the bridge. It's supposed to be finished by July, but knowing the DOT, I'll believe it when I see it.

My landmark several years ago used to be the big clock on the West Paces Ferry Medical Center, but it closed. It's been a while, but I still miss that clock; I used it to gauge if I were early or late.

Twosome: for-- your typical lunchtime what do you see? ...a cafeteria? ...classroom? ...office? ...home? ...the surf in Hawai'i?

My car. When I go into work I take a nap at lunchtime. By then I have a headache and my eyes hurt from the fluorescent lights. I usually take a short walk around and then go to the car and sleep. My eyes usually feel better afterwards and the headache is gone.

Threesome: some direction--? Okay, if you go out your front door, which direction are you facing? ...or do you use the front door? Hmmm...

Due west! It's very nice; we can go out on the porch and see a nice sunset, and the morning sun comes into the kitchen/dining room.

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» Wednesday, March 07, 2007
In Person
Sometimes I get tired of having to post "used to be" items. I do like aspects of the modern world, after all :-)—the Internet, central air conditioning, satellite television and radio, central air conditioning, interstate highways...did I mention central air conditioning? :-)

On the other hand, sometimes the lack of things I used to be able to find as a matter of course drives me bats.

For instance, back in the 1970s and earlier I could pop into darn near any Woolworths, or even the local drugstores like Thalls and Douglas Drugs and find something called "cloth tape." It came in several basic colors and was what you used to repair the spines of books. (I suppose it was probably made by Scotch, but for some reason I associate it with Dennison, which, of course, merged with Avery some years ago.) I haven't seen "cloth tape" in years. Scotch does make a clear tape called "book tape" which essentially does the same job but enables you to see the original spine. It comes in four widths.

I can find it online in all four widths at Office Depot and Staples. Office Max has it in one size. I can also find the clear stuff and also what sounds like cloth tape online at library.com and other places.

But in no case can I actually walking into the big-box office supply stores and buy a roll; it all must be ordered online. Office Depot, et. al. are all huge stores. Why can't they make room for something this essential and this small? They sell coffee and snacks for office vending machines, but not something that might be useful in an office?

Wicked bizarre!

I'm probably just going to buy a roll of colored "duck tape" at JoAnn. For all I know, this is the same stuff as the old "cloth tape," although it doesn't look it; the appearance is different. But I was hoping to just pop in somewhere and get the clear stuff and let the (slightly mangled) spine of the old book I bought show through.

(I bought a bound copy of Wide Awake, which ran concurrently with St. Nicholas until SN absorbed it in 1893. The front cover had come off and the back is loose and I'm currently gluing those portions, but need the tape to finish off the outer repair. This collection is from 1889 and has the second half of Five Little Peppers Midway in it as a serial story under the title "Five Little Peppers Further On.")

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Ooops...
...in Autumn Hollow.

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» Tuesday, March 06, 2007
RI Author Rediscovered
Providence: Following the Footsteps of a Horror Icon

Somewhere between 1979 and 1984, the World Horror Convention was held in Providence, at the Biltmore Hotel, and Gail Paradis and I went. I think Gail liked some horror; I didn't like any, but it was a convention, after all. We got to hear Stephen King speak—he was very funny; I remember a complaint about book cover illustrators who don't read the book and he held up a copy of Carrie that featured this glamourous young woman on the cover, asking "Who is this? It's sure not fat, pimply Carrie White!"

And we also took one of the Lovecraft tours as mentioned here as a special event. It was rather interesting; the guide also mentioned other authors' connections with the area, including a place where Edgar Allan Poe used to go to "moon over a girl." :-)

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» Monday, March 05, 2007
Monday Madness

1. From beth:
What's the most unusual hobby you have? How did you get started with it?


I guess that would be collecting the bound issues of the children's magazine St. Nicholas, which was published from 1873 through 1940. I saw this magazine mentioned a lot in old children's books from the era and then found a 1917 copy in a used bookstore. I just kept it as a curiosity until I bought a bound volume from 1889 in Brattle Books up in Boston. Then I just had to keep going! They are so great to read, just a picture of the culture of that era in a microcosm, down to how words were spelled differently: to-day, Esquimeaux, trowsers, bowlder, Corea, Tokio, etc.

2. From briar:
How many different kinds of music do you listen to? Name a few favorites, if you please.


I like New Age (especially George Winston, also David Arkenstone and David Huntsinger [one of my favorite CDs of all time is Huntsinger's "Autumn in New England"]) and Big Band. I don't have a favorite Big Band, though. And all sorts of Christmas music, especially instrumentals of traditional and regional songs that are not frequently played, like "Still, Still, Still" or "The Huron Carol."

3. From iris:
Do you take advantage of the outdoor areas where you live? What's your favorite thing to do outside? What's your favorite local bird?


Not as much as I should. My favorite thing to do outside in the winter/when it's cool is to walk. I need to get my bicycle fixed so I can ride it. My favorite thing to do outside in the summer is run inside quick, where it's air conditioned and I can breathe properly. My favorite local bird is the Carolina chickadee, although I'm growing very fond of the tufted titmouse!

4. From kristy:
Children: Do you have any?


No kids, just fids (furred and feathered kids). We tried, but the one time I thought I "caught" I hadn't.

5. From amy:
What is your favorite part of spring?


There are favorite parts of spring? Okay, I won't be a spring Scrooge. The flowering trees and bushes are pretty. Right now we already have daffodils and the plum or cherry trees are blooming; not sure which they are. The blooms are a light purply color, a bit pinkish. But the flowers just make me sneeze and the allergens in the pollen makes my joints ache, and spring means hated summer is coming.

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» Sunday, March 04, 2007
Putting It Out of the Way...
...in Autumn Hollow.

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» Saturday, March 03, 2007
New Book Posts...
..."It All Started on Epiphany" and in brief about library books.

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"Yesterday Was Plain Awful..."
For some reason, Willow barked until 2 a.m. Thursday night/Friday morning. We have no idea why, but James finally locked her in her crate in desperation, which we ordinarily don't like to do. She quit barking, but neither of us could settle, for my part because it was warm and a bit sticky. I finally retreated into the spare room where it was cooler, but I didn't get much sleep and finally went back to bed when the cold front came through about 3:30.

So we were both a little shellshocked when the alarm rang. James went off to work. I sat down at my desk to work but after an hour developed "the runs," nausea, and another headache—obviously yesterday's migraine was just a harbinger. I was supposed to go into work for a safety class, but instead took lots of Tylenol for one end and Pepto Bismol for the other, and lay down to sooth my ringing head. The headache was so bad it was a little scary. Three hours later I was able to go back to work; to make up for losing the time in the morning, I worked until seven p.m. I did get about three more orders done, including one that has been in limbo since October because I never received the info I needed for it.

James brought Boston Market chicken home and we stayed in instead of the usual trip to BJs or whatever.

Today was better although I was still sleepy. We went to "Hair Day" and had a great time as always., except I ate raw carrots and they came up on me all afternoon. (A lot of vegetables do this to me. It's annoying.) We went to the hobby shop and I walked down to the hardware store for some plastic tape and some "S" hooks. This is a real hardware store, where you can buy one and two of things. They always have this look when they see me coming ever since I bought this huge nail (we always refer to it as "the railroad spike") about eight or nine inches long and almost as big around as my little finger. I needed it for hanging up the hose to the vacuum cleaner.

Also went to Lowes for more birdseed (and a container; the one we bought not three months ago already has a crack in its lid and this morning the seed was damp) and wire shelving to put up in various places. James got such a deal! He wanted some wire shelving 20 inches wide and about nine feet long. Lowes had six feet and twelve feet, but nothing in between. Then he spied a shelf that was in between; he measured it and it was 8 1/2 feet long. Apparently someone had had the shelving cut and needed only the short end! So he asked how much it would be, figuring that since 1/4 of it was gone, they would say 1/4 off the full 12-foot price of $35.

The guy said "How about $10?" Sold! I also found a short length of shelf (about a foot long) that was also a cut off. I wanted a short shelf. They gave it to me for free; I just had to buy the supports for it.

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» Friday, March 02, 2007
Double Memes Again
Thursday Threesome

Signage?

::No Bicycles on the Freeway::


Onesome: No Bicycles-- on the Freeway? Ya' think? Do you have a better 'sign of the times' for the gang? I'm thinking along the lines of "Coffee is Hot", if you catch my drift...

"Coming soon to this location...Starbucks." They're everywhere.

Twosome: on the-- flip side, how about a sign you think needs to be in place? ...maybe something like one that lights up and says, "Get out" after you pull the fire alarm in a building?

Not a sign. A regular megaphone system on the interstates and state highways. One that keeps repeating "Shut up, hang up and drive."

Threesome: Freeway--, friend or foe? Utility or necessary evil? Extra points if you have to use the Pennsylvania Turnpike or happen to live in Los Angeles <g>!

Oh, come on. I've driven in Boston. The Pennsylvania Turnpike and the L.A. hold no terrors. I drive on Atlanta freeways almost every day. These folks scare me.

Friday Five

1. What do you like most: Fridays, Saturdays, or Sundays (and why)?

Saturdays. James is home and there's no having to go to bed early like we have to do on Sunday.

2. What was the best weekend of your life?

Oh, gosh. It was at some SF convention, I'm sure.

3. What weekend of the year is your favorite?

The one before Christmas. Followed very closely by Thanksgiving weekend, DragonCon weekend, and Atomicon weekend.

4. Do you have any weekend routines?

Buying milk at Costco (or BJs or Sams, whatever). Right now we are going to Costco because they have screw-top jugs and we are replenishing our emergency water supply.

5. Describe your ideal Saturday night.

Games night. Or watching a movie.

As long as it doesn't involve purchase orders...

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» Thursday, March 01, 2007

Your Birthdate: December 11
Spiritual and thoughtful, you tend to take a step back from the world.
You're very sensitive to what's going on around you, yet you remain calm.
Although you are brilliant, it may take you a while to find your niche.
Your creativity is supreme, but it sometimes makes it hard for you to get things done.

Your strength: Your inner peace

Your weakness: You get stuck in the clouds

Your power color: Emerald

Your power symbol: Leaf

Your power month: November

Well, I suppose...although I've never been a green person. I prefer sky blue or crimson. But I like the autumn motif!

Tip o'the hat to Vampry.

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Gloom and All That
I've got about five minutes left to lunch. Was a bit of a hard morning—about nine I felt a migraine coming on. I took something but continued to try to work. No use. I had to take the time to lie down in the dark for it to go away. So I'll have to work late to make up the time. I don't really mind since there's no traffic involved to have to fight afterward.

Since I've finished the Get Smart set, I've taken to starting my lunch a half-hour later. That's when Rick Steves' Europe comes on WPBA; I watch that while eating lunch and then take Wil out for a walk. I was still feeling a bit queasy from the headache, so I actually haven't eaten yet, but I did sit down to watch Steves. They did the Alps today; I want to go to Switzerland now! It looks nice and cool up on those mountains—right out of Heidi. They also showed some of the Swiss hidden military installations from World War II.

We didn't walk much since it's still raining. It thundered all the early morning and Willow barked before every rumble, even the ones we couldn't hear. Urgh. That may have contributed to the headache. Anyway, lunch is over. Ta.

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Out Of Synch
This is a response to Emma's February 28 blog entry because, boy, do I know those feelings! I grew up liking—at least according to my classmates except for my best friend—all the wrong things: I hated rock music (I liked my parents' music: Big Band, Perry Como, Pops-type classical, Christmas standards), and enjoyed old-fashioned things like radio series and 1940s movies, museums, books, and, oh, yeah, my parents! In my teens I not only didn't mind being seen with my parents, I actively enjoyed going places with them. Going on vacation was as good as Christmas: we visited great places like Williamsburg and Lake George (and points north: I loved Fort Ticonderoga) and Quebec City and Franconia Notch. I spent my spare time writing stories and illustrating them, or reading; no one could figure out why I "wasted" my time doing "hard stuff" like reading and why I would prefer writing—another "really hard thing to do"—to trying on clothes and shoes (ewww! ugh!) and makeup, and talking about boys. In my teens the best gift I ever received for Christmas was not clothes or makeup but my typewriter. Boys bored me silly for the most part: they farted, made rude jokes, and talked about boring stuff like sports and cars incessantly. The two boys I liked most in high school were what would now be called "geeks." One graduated first in our class and the other graduated third. Plus I had no interest in drinking, smoking, or doing drugs (and still don't). Not to mention I was pretty much like Beth in Little Women, very shy around other people not my family or close friends. I took after my dad in that respect.

Almost forgot—I actually liked teachers! I don't mean the "cool" teachers who were "with it" and "rapped" with the kids and "spoke their language." I liked teachers who actually taught me something, especially my English teachers. (I still loathed Treasure Island, but I didn't hold that against Mr. Dwyer.) My ninth-grade English teacher, Mr. Abosamra, was one of my favorite people of all time. (In one of those odd coincidences that only happen in real life—or maybe only in Rhode Island; LOL—my dad's best buddy at the bowling alley was Mr. Abosamra's father-in-law.) And I pretty much liked school, except for anything that involved algebra or higher math (geometry was the exception) or gym class. I had bad hand-eye coordination when it came to team sports and every class was an ordeal. Later on I heard about schools that actually had electives in gym: you could take fun stuff like square dancing or calesthenics instead of having to play boring volleyball and softball. We had square dancing in elementary school; it was fun. And apparently I was the only girl in gym class who liked doing jumping jacks...

College wasn't much better, but later I got along okay when I went to work because by and large most of the people I worked with were older women. I understood them; they were like my mom. Most of them were married with kids. But I still didn't have anyone to really talk to except for Sherrye—and by then she was engaged and then married.

Finally my mom took me to my first Star Trek convention (I was 22, but she didn't want me going to New York City alone—you know Italian mothers!—besides, she had just as much fun as I did) and for the first time I belonged. There were people here who wanted to talk about books! Not just science fiction books, but books in general! They didn't think going to the library once a week was strange. They not only didn't think I was odd for liking to write stories, some of them wrote stories of their own and/or published fanzines! But most of all they weren't judgmental: "Okay, I don't know what you see in OTR or The Waltons or The Questor Tapes. I like the Stones, martial arts, and Star Wars. But that's cool. What's your favorite [fill in name of popular show you both like] episode?" It was a revelation—and fun, too!

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