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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» Thursday, May 31, 2007
In a Flap
I think Schuyler is getting more comfortable with her new life. She still stares askance at us occasionally and is leery of hands, but she is hopping around her cage, bouncing from perch to perch and climbing, occasionally regaling Miss Willow and myself with baby chirps. She finished the big sprig of millet I gave her and that's all she will get for a while, since it's too rich for everyday food. (Millet is like budgie junk food.)

The trash goes out tonight, so will have to try to clean out her cage a little bit. It's going to have to stay messy at the back until she gets more used to my hand coming inside; I don't want to frighten her.

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Thursday Threesome

From the snack bar:

::Pimentos in Olives::


Onesome: Pimentos-- in Olives? Useless decorative effect? ...or something you maybe enjoy? ...and is there something you can only stare at and wonder about at the snack bar?

No pimento should ever be put in a green olive. They are to be savored on their own. Pimentos! Phfft! (You can put all the pimentos you want into Greek olives, which must be an acquired taste. Can't stand the things; so bitter!)

Twosome: in Olives though? Who thought of that one? No, that's not your question <g>; rather, what combo of things do you put together in the food arena that's been know to strike others as a bit strange?

Black olives and bacon as topping on pizza (with no cheese). (I hate mozarella cheese; it reminds me of mucus.)

Threesome: Olives-- on fingertips (preferably black olives!). What food do you "play" with when you're feeling a bit silly?

Nope, olives was it. I remember putting them on my fingertips when I was a kid, even though Mom glared at me about it.

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» Wednesday, May 30, 2007
Dreaming Of Pillows
I finally got 7 1/2 hours of sleep last night, which is a great relief, but has not "caught me up" by any means. I went to work yesterday looking like one of those zombies you see in bad B-movies, with wide open eyes looking straight ahead. I think I got things done. It's hard to remember.

When I got home I continued to click on different applications to see if they would work. Most of the graphics programs are okay. I had to reload Paradox, and also made another stab at WordPerfect. When I installed it the other night, I thought I clicked ON WordPerfect and clicked OFF Presentations and QuattroPro. Judging by what came up on the programs menu, I did exactly the opposite. Gah. Finally got AIM working again this morning, although no one I know turns up anymore. Haven't chatted with Laura in ages. Also re-installed Nero last night and figured out how to turn off all that stuff about watching television. Don't need it and it takes up darn less space.

Now to see if it still copies CDs.

I can't believe how much stuff still gets installed into Windows even though you tell it not to install in C:. I don't want my Paint Shop Pro scratch files or PhotoImpact7 textures in C:. Who told you to put it there? Stupid install instructions.

Schuyler still doesn't know what to make of us. Mostly she sits and stares with a suspicious look on her face ("Are you going to eat me?"). She is enjoying the millet and has "talked" to the mirror. If I put my hand in the cage, she eyes it to see if I'm getting too close. I try not to. She also chirps intermittently. I try to imitate her and fail miserably. Right now I have jazz music on for her.

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» Monday, May 28, 2007
Out and In Again
Been fiddling around most of the afternoon getting Eudora re-set up. We went out about noon, to Borders, where I bought James a copy of The Blues Brothers DVD for saving my computer. (I got George Winston's Gulf Coast album.) I found some books I had enjoyed on sale and bought them as a Christmas gift for a friend. Also went to Linens'n'Things and to Michaels for red-white-and-blue flowers to go with the small red-white-and-blue containers I bought at JoAnn. These are for the table and china cabinet for Independence Day.

Schuyler has been chirping on and off all afternoon. When we got home she was near the mirror, having eaten some millet. She's so cute, has that typical baby bird cheep.

I am sooooo sleepy. We are going to a friend's house for a cookout in a few minutes, I hope I can keep my eyes open long enough to be polite!

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Charles Nelson Reilly
Just saw this at Brent's blog:

Obituary

I didn't realize CNR was one of the survivors of the 1944 Hartford circus fire.

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"Yesterday Was Plain Awful...
...you can say that again.
Yesterday was plain awful—
But that's...not now...that's then..."


Worrying about Schuyler only was the start of the day. My mind was constantly on her, so when we went out to JoAnn and Linens'n'Things I found it hard to collect my thoughts about what I wanted.

Anyway, I decided finally to buy the Crosley 4-in-one player. I have a stereo system and James has a turntable, but neither play 78s and I wanted to play my mom's records. We hadn't thought of a cart, so we got into line behind a man with James holding the player and me holding James' new fry pan and a couple other things he'd picked up, since we had a 20 percent off entire purchase card. The player was bulky, so for a moment, since the line was so long, he rested it on a display of boxes.

Then the man in front of him moved, so he shifted around to move forward in line, only to find that a woman had cut in front of him. She was tall, blonde, and in a white suit, with sunglasses on.

James said politely to her, "Excuse me, I was next in line."

She stared at him with this lofty, haughty expression and said nothing.

Still polite, he raised his voice a little. "Ma'am, I'm in line after this gentleman. The line-" he pointed to the person behind us "-is back there."

She continued to give him this stare as if he were some bird that had pooped on her shoulder.

He repeated, quietly but firmly, "I am next in line after this man."

She bridled and said, "There's no need to be so ugly!" and moved into the other line!

So it's "ugly" now to politely inform people that you were already in line and that she should not be cutting in? Geez louise... I guess she figured that if she looked down her nose long enough at us, we would quail under her superiority. Yeesh.

In the meantime, I had, minutes earlier while pulling up my pants, managed to drop my cell phone in the toilet. It barely got wet (the inside between the phone and the battery wasn't even damp), and I wiped it off and washed the case, but it went berserk for at least an hour, saying it was charging when there was no charge plug in, and other nonsense. I held it up in front of the car vent on the way home and then left it open in our bedroom near the fan to dry out. Everything was working by the time we got home except that the ring still sounded muffled, but that seemed to have worked out by bedtime.

So we get home, we have Dragon168 for supper, play with the Webkinz awhile (miniature golf had a bonus for an hour, so I played three games), talk to Schuyler about everything, pet Willow. About ten p.m. I put Star Wars on, since this is the anniversary and there have been news reports everywhere.

Now on Sunday night I have disk manager set to defrag my hard drive at 10 p.m. Presumably it started to do this. About the time R2D2 was meeting Ben Kenobi, I thought of something I wanted to look up and had forgotten previously, so I got up and went to the computer.

There was a popup window on screen with some type of mysterious message about a runtime error 202. I clicked okay and noticed that my AVG icon in the taskbar was greyed out and all my icons in the quick launch toolbar were blank. What the...?

Of course I did what you do first: I rebooted.

"Invalid system disk."

To paraphrase Gwen DeMarco: "I know those words. Those are not good words."

OhmyGod. I hadn't done a backup in at least a year.

To make a painfully long story short (since we were up till 2:30 a.m.), James used the Win98 boot disk to get it to do scandisk. He told it to fix all the files.

When it got done fixing the files, all of Windows98 was arranged in directories called DIR00012, etc., and nothing worked. So he reinstalled Windows98, the video driver (because he had to), and Nero, and we spent the next hour or so after that copying off files.

I guessed we'd have to buy a new hard disk, supposing sectors had gone bad, but scandisk had showed absolutely no bad sectors. I ran defrag and we looked through all the little files. We could find not one bad sector on the C: virtual drive (where I have Windows installed). All the other files were intact.

So what? Windows98 imploded?

Anyway, neither of us could sleep this morning. After 5 1/2 hours sleep, we dragged out of bed, James reformatted the C: drive (my hard drive is divided into ten virtual drives, with different things in each one), and he installed Windows2000. (So there, Rodney. I'm not using a ten-year-old operating system anymore. This one is only seven years old. It's...seasoned, as Hilary Booth would say. <g>) It networked almost immediately, Firefox and Word still work (although I get an error message first on Word), but I have to get to e-mail through the web and my darling WordPerfect is at present inoperative.

As long as I can work on Wednesday without driving 56 miles, I'm happy.

Oh, and Schuyler was chowing down again while we were computing this morning. She's preened several times since yesterday, and this morning regaled us with a few chirps!

Still worried about the droppings, though...it's a Mommy thing.

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» Sunday, May 27, 2007
Waiting...
Schuyler seemed okay this morning; at least once she gave a cheep.

But her droppings are awfully loose, where they weren't yesterday. I consulted all my books, and while they say to watch the bird, they also agree that loose droppings are often caused by a traumatic event. I suppose being caught in a net, placed in a box, transported to a new place, and being in a big new room with two humans, a brown thing that barks, and a box that talks and sings could be classified as a "traumatic event."

I don't remember any of the others being quite this loose! And she did try to regurgitate a couple of times. I know Petco would take her back if she were sick—but I don't want to return her. I've gotten kind of attached, even in two days!

I did take her out to check her vent feathers, which are a bit sticky, so I will keep my eye on her. We went out to get milk and things, and when we got home we found her on the high perch, near the front of the cage, and later she did go and eat. (She was chowing down for quite a while, not surprising since she probably hadn't eaten since yesterday morning.) Oh, and this morning she hit at the bell of one of her toys, too.

No more cheeps today. But then Frisky, the little bird I was given for my tenth birthday, didn't utter a sound for two weeks. My dad was getting upset.

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Hugh Laurie Given OBE
Queen Elizabeth Honors TV's Crankiest Doctor

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» Saturday, May 26, 2007
The Call
I was a bit depressed this morning. James had to go to work and I was a bit weary from not having slept well during the week. (Work is really stressing me out.) I had toyed with the idea of going up to Books-a-Million, then morosely rejected it, but I was still getting the call and left when James did—or actually ended up waiting to pay our lawn man and also for the mailman to come by. Yawn. How exciting.

The wind has turned and we have the smoke from South Georgia again. I find it mind-boggling that we can see and smell smoke from over 200 miles away. It was cool enough at that point to keep the windows open, so I stubbornly did so.

Made a stop at Michaels to pick up some styrene blanks. This is the same clear material I used to make the protective sides for the bird's carry box. The bookcase that the bird cage is on is not up against the wall—I didn't think about it; I suppose I can move it now, since it was only there since Pidgie had a little perch in back of the cage so he could play with the two buttons I had taped to the wall, first in the old house and then in the new (we didn't want to unsettle him last year by changing it)—so I bought the blanks to replace the printer paper I had there to keep quantities of seed (and bird toys) from falling behind the bookcase. It's got the encyclopedia in it, so it takes some prior work to move it.

Michaels isn't as much fun anymore. A few months ago they did a remodel to all the locations so they all are set up alike. That was the charm of the old ones. They were all in different size stores and one usually had a specialty the others did not. The "big" stores (like Northlake and Hiram) had more small furniture and other wood products. The one at Town Center had a better frame department. The one on Roswell had a good floral department, etc. Now they're all cookie-cutter.

I wish an A.C. Moore would move up near Books-a-Million.

I was about to just do a quick magazine skim at "BaM" when I came upon some games for only $10. One was the Family Fun edition of Cranium which I know Jessie likes, so we will have that for another game night. There was also a game I bought as a gift. Picked up an Armchair General for James and Reminisce Extra for me (watch, my subscription will finally kick in and I will get a second one in a couple of days).

If you read my book blog at all, you'll remember I gave an enthusiastic review to John Fardell's young adult adventure The Seven Professors of the Far North. This is a great old-fashioned Danny Dunn type story with neat gadgets; not surprisingly I found it in the International Spy Museum when we were in DC last November. Anyway, there is a sequel, The Flight of the Silver Turtle, and just last night when I was bored, not having really thought of the book since I finished it, I just happened to be surfing around different book sites seeing if it were in paperback yet and what the price would be. Still hardback and still pretty expensive. Oh, well.

Darned if I didn't find it in the remaindered book section of Books-a-Million for $4!

Ever get the feeling someone was trying to tell you something? Was that the only reason I'd felt like coming out here?

Anyway, I wandered over to Petco. They were having pet adoptions and, was Willow not so chary of other dogs, I would have brought one home. There was an adorable, full-grown terrier type dog, black and brown on white, with prick ears and all the face fuzz like Willow has. The color and ears were different, but he reminded me of the dog that is on the Pedigree "we're for dogs" pet adoption commercials that David Duchovny narrates, the little dog named Oliver.

I can't go into pet shops without looking at the budgies, so I walked to the bird section. Instead of having their budgies in cages or "tanks" they have them in a round enclosure in the center of the floor. Their birds always look better than the ones at the Petco at Town Center or at any of the Petsmarts. So there were about seven babies relaxing or blinking interestedly at me.

God apparently was trying to tell me something, and it wasn't just about John Fardell. One little bird captivated me. It was just sitting on the top perch with two other blue birds, a combination of blue and white, with white wings and a white tail and a little blue collar with an open spot at the front, like a minister's collar. Further along the perch there was a blue bird with a white "belt" around his middle; I thought immediately of The Karate Kid. :-) But my eye was still drawn back to the white-and-blue one.

So I asked for help with the birds.

baby SchuylerMy hands were actually shaking when I filled out the form. I'm nearly as frightened as the bird, who is now sitting blinking in that big cage. I have the classical music channel playing for her.

Yes, the lady at the store says it's a girl. The cere is still lilac-colored, but there is white around the nostrils, which is the indicator of a hen. I've never had a hen before. They're supposed to be bite-y. And I have no idea if there will be problems with egg-laying.

I guess it's going to be a new experience for both of us. There's always the vet to walk me through.

I have begun calling her Schuyler mainly because of the blue and white, but because it's gender-neutral, just in case. I have much history with the name "Schuyler" of both sexes: the hometown of Earl Hamner Jr, the real name of one of my favorite heroes, "Sky" King, Richard Schuyler (played by Michael McGreevey in the Disney Dexter Riley films), Schuyler Grant (Diana Barry in the Kevin Sullivan "Anne of Green Gables" stories).

A half-hour ago I was sure, now I'm not. This is the hardest time with budgies, when they're all big-eyed and scared and you wish there was some way to let them know it's okay. Like Sylvia Barrett I want to quote Edna St. Vincent Millay's "Prayer to Persephone": "'My dear, my dear, it is not so dreadful here.'"

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» Friday, May 25, 2007
Friday Five

1. What is your favorite board game?

Scrabble!

2. What is your favorite card game?

Uno! (I am a rabid Uno player.)

3. Do you like to play games on the computer or on a gaming system?

Some. I still like Jumpman. But those games on the Webkinz site are becoming rather addicting.

4. If so, what is your favorite game to play?

Oh, Cash Cow 2 is fun. It's a little like Bejeweled. And one of the candy games. You have to break pinatas and catch the candy in your sombrero. And I love the miniature golf course and the word games.

5. Do you like to play games with people or to play them alone?

Both. We need to have another games night but James' schedule has become so erratic.

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Well Begun is Not Done...Yet
I started last night in cleaning out the bird cage. I have replaced all the wooden perches in the cage except for one: the rest are natural branches along with one perch that has grit on it to keep the nails trimmed. Everything has either been washed in hot water and soap and thoroughly rinsed or, in the case of the cage bars themselves, I scrubbed them with alcohol and now all is drying under the A/C vent in my craft room. At present I am soaking the contents and the bars of the carry box and will clean the plastic portion and the handle with alcohol. I've cleaned out the shelves under the cage, but need to wipe those down with alcohol and also vacuum around the bookcase so I don't flake any new bird out with a vacuum cleaner around his cage. Pidgie was never sure what to make of the vacuum, but he wasn't afraid of it; Bandit just yawned when Willow broke out into a salvo of barks every time I used it, as if to say "Chill, sis, it's just the bizippy thing."

It's a depressing job as well as an expectant one. There's so much that goes into making a new little bird comfortable: quiet sound, easy movements, gentle talk, those few weeks when you think the poor guy will never get used to you, the timid ordeal of finger taming, and that first heart-stopping time you let them out of the cage (although I will admit it's easier when they have their wings clipped—I always remember Pip, who would throw himself from the door platform with the calm assurance that Mommy would field him, as if he were a small feathered softball).

It was cloudy at lunchtime, so I popped on my hat, stockings and shoes and took Willow completely around the neighborhood. It was muggier than I expected and I came inside feeling drenched. She did enjoy it, though, since we haven't been out since before Pidge "flew away."

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» Thursday, May 24, 2007
Hurrah for Nola Ochs!
We finally watched Monday's "Headlines" tonight and also watched this wonderful lady interviewed by Jay Leno. She looks as if she is in her 70s!

Nola Ochs is Making the Grade at 94

This article has a photo of Nola Ochs and here's Fox News's article.

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Thursday Threesome

Old song lyrics, anyone?

::Somewhere, beyond the Sea...::

Onesome: Somewhere--, anywhere? Vacation season is just ahead (sooner than later for some depending on school schedules); do you have any plans mapped out yet?

Not for the summer. Ugh. Unless it's some fab opportunity somewhere cool (Greenland sounds nice), neither of us wants to go anywhere in the summer again. Ask again when the weather's nice, like in November.

Twosome: beyond this week? How far ahead do you plan for your days off? ...or do they just show up and you enjoy whatever happens?

Usually only plan for days off between Christmas and New Year's (can't get any work done anyway and I like to be able to enjoy the Christmas tree and Christmas music), the Friday of DragonCon and vacation. Most other days off just seem to "happen," like taking off after Pidgie died or if the car gets a flat.

Threesome: the Sea-- Does that sound like the trip for you? Somewhere beyond the sea to an island for a week or two or twenty?

Only if the island temperature is 60°F or under! Greenland? Iceland? Kodiak Island? Prince Edward Island in the fall? Heck, Block Island in the fall...

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» Wednesday, May 23, 2007
Amusements
In an attempt to cheer me up, while James was out on Tuesday he bought me a Webkinz toy (and one for himself). These are little stuffed animals that come with a secret code. When you go to the Webkinz website you give the critter a name and "adopt" it and then are given "Webkinz bucks" to furnish the little room you are given for your pet.

Basically it's like one of those tamigotchi gadgets crossed with the "Dogz" (or "Catz" or "Horsez") computer programs. There are an arcade where you play games, tournament challenges, daily quizzes, a mine where you "dig" for "gems," and other activities where you can make more Webkinz bucks. You use this to buy food for your pet (it gets hungry), keep it happy by playing games with it, and add more "rooms" to its living space. If it gets sick you can take it to the clinic and have it seen by the vet.

There are various little animals and we had seen them in Hallmark shops, but we didn't know what they were until a friend of ours, Jerry, bought one for his little boy. He was pleased at the variety of non-violent games and started having fun playing the games with his son, so he and his wife both bought their own Webkinz. He was showing us all the games and activities at Atomicon and it looked rather like fun, so we've been looking around for them, but they're very popular and all the Hallmark stores were out.

Tuesday James found pugs and tree frogs at Hobbytown. I'm not an amphibian person, so we got the pugs. James gave his a name that means "firmament" (help me here, hon...). I was more traditional: I named mine "Weenie" after Eloise's little pug in the classic Kay Thompson books (except my Weenie is a girl).

So while I've had fun playing Cash Cow #1 and #2 and a really cool miniature golf course, I've also made some Webkinz bucks and bought Weenie not only "furniture" and "food," but also a yard with flower and vegetable gardens. It's goofy but cute.

I noticed there is a Clydesdale coming out in June...it looks adorable!

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» Tuesday, May 22, 2007
The Right to Nothing
So I pick up the phone at work and get a recording telling me this is a solicitation call from my local newspaper; I am about to hang up when a man comes on and starts talking. I tell him this is a Federal Government telephone number and he shouldn't be calling it and he tells me he has a "right" to call!!!! A what? I told him to put the number on his do-not-call list and hung up on him.

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Smoke Gets In Your Eyes
Literally.

From the AJC:

For the second time in less than a week, smoke from the South Georgia wildfires Tuesday morning was blowing into metro Atlanta.

The smoke, from fires about 250 miles away, began moving into metro Atlanta between 4 and 5 a.m., reducing visibility at Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport from 10 miles at 4 a.m. to just 3 miles an hour later.

By 5:30 a.m., the smoke had moved northward to around the top-end Perimeter.

Forecasters at the National Weather Service said southeasterly winds sent the smoke over metro Atlanta, and a low-level inversion —where a layer of warmer air was on top of cooler air at the surface — pushed the smoke to ground-level.

In downtown Atlanta, the heavy smoke obscured the tops of skyscrapers.

The Weather Service said warming temperatures after daybreak, along with a shift in winds, should help dissipate the smoke.

According to the Georgia Forestry Commission, 52 fires that were burning late Monday have scorched more than 345,000 acres.
From the view through the windows across the hall you might think the fire was down the street.

It was a strange morning anyway. On nights before I have to drive in to work, I leave my computer on so I don't have to go through the time of booting up in the morning to check weather and traffic. This morning I found the computer had shut off. We apparently had a very small power failure, small enough not to mess with the clocks on the microwave and the alarm clock in the spare room, but enough to knock out the clock on my stereo system, my computer, and, of all things, the router (usually the DSL modem takes a hit, but not this time).

I also continue to have a problem with my XM radio. It was fine yesterday morning, but by the time I drove home, it was fading out under overpasses (once under the overpass and then again a second time) and also near trees, which it's never done before. It was the same way this morning. Needless to say the traffic report was very disjointed.

Damn...you can smell the smoke in the building, and none of our windows open.

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» Monday, May 21, 2007
Funny Video Clip
The Real Computer Monster

"...it's not the Cookie Monster, but a precursor. The Muppets created the skit for an IBM training video, and later performed a version on the Ed Sullivan Show."

A tip of the hat to Teri.

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How True!
Another tip of the hat to Barry.
How To Drive In Atlanta:

1. You must first learn to pronounce the city name, it is Etlanna.

2. The morning rush hour is from 5:00am to noon. The evening rush hour is from noon to 7:00pm. Friday's rush hour starts on Thursday morning.

3. The minimum acceptable speed on most freeways is 85 mph. Anything less is considered "Wussy."

4. Forget the traffic rules you learned elsewhere. Atlanta has its own version of traffic rules. For example, cars or trucks with the loudest muffler go first at a four-way stop; the trucks with the biggest tires go second. However, in Roswell & Alpharetta, SUV-driving, cell phone-talking moms ALWAYS have the right of way.

5. If you actually stop at a yellow light, you will be rear ended, cussed out, and possibly shot.

6. Never honk at anyone. Ever. Seriously. It's another offense that can get you shot.

7. Road construction is permanent and continuous in all of Atlanta and its surrounding counties. Detour barrels are moved around for your entertainment pleasure during the middle of the night to make the next day's driving a bit more exciting.

8. Watch carefully for road hazards such as drunks, skunks, dogs, cats, barrels, cones, celebs, rubberneckers, shredded tires, cell phoners, deer and other road kill, and the buzzards feeding on any of these items. *

9. MapQuest does not work here, none of the roads are where they say they are or go where they say they do and all the freeway off and on ramps are moved each night.

10. If someone actually has their turn signal on, wave them to the shoulder immediately to let them know it has been "accidentally activated."

11. If you are in the left lane and only driving 70 in a 55-65 mph zone, you are considered a road hazard and will be "flipped off" accordingly. If you return the flip, you'll be shot.

12. Do not try to estimate travel time, just leave Monday afternoon for Tuesday appointments, by noon Thursday for Friday and right after church on Sunday for anything on Monday morning.

13. Above all else, enjoy your driving experience, because if you actually get where you are going on time, everybody else will be late.

Drive Safely!
* They forgot one thing: the ubiquitous ladder in the road.

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Today's "Awwww..."
Otters Holding "Hands"

Tip of the hat to Barry.

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Monday Madness

1. Name one thing you received as a gift on your last birthday.

A wireless modem for the laptop! James gave it to me early so we could use it on vacation.

2. What would be the "perfect" birthday gift?

Enough money so I wouldn't have to work at this job.

3. Do you look forward to birthdays?

I'm ambivalent about them. Nice enough if some friends get together. But really, it's just another day, isn't it? Nothing's different that day, or afterwards. Time just keeps going. ("Time looks not backward, nor tarries with yesterday.")

4. On your birthday, do you treat yourself to something special each year?

Yes, I usually buy something for myself, like a special book or maybe a DVD set.

5. Do you bother keeping up with your horoscope on a regular basis?

No. Gosh, people still do that? I know it was big in the 70s...

6. What zodiac sign are you, and do you think you fit the description for that sign?

Sagittarius. Part of it, as I remember. I haven't read the specs in years.

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The Last Clipper Ship
The "Cutty Sark" burns.

Fire Consumes Historic London Ship

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» Sunday, May 20, 2007
Lazy Sunday
The usual trip for milk (and we found some delicious chicken and apple sausage at Costco), and we ended up at WalMart again; James wanted to see if they carried compression socks. They didn't, but I did buy myself some wrist weights which come with an exercise routine which I tried when I got home. I'm going to have to go easy, as any weight on my elbows triggers pain from the old injury. We also found a 30 inch ceiling fan at a good price; the one we had seen at Lowe's was over $50. We want a small fan for the kitchen; it gets very warm when James is cooking despite the exhaust fan. We listened to jazz on the radio while we were out, perfect for a warm Sunday afternoon.

When we got home James installed an extra fan in my computer. Willow spent the remainder of the afternoon chasing the squirrels away from the bird feeder. One of them is a young squirrel.

We're surviving on fans today but they will need to go by tomorrow, when we'll have to button the house back up and return to A/C.

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» Saturday, May 19, 2007
Saturday Stuff
James had to work today (not to mention the next two Saturdays; rats...), so I took the missed opportunity from yesterday to sleep in. Did hit Hobby Lobby for another Independence Day decoration and ended up in Wally World (which was a good thing, because they had Prilosec for $23.00), then came home to tidy up a bit and continue my dubbing project and finish the St. Joseph's altar.

I also put away some books James had finished, and finally sorted out the history books into different eras and subjects.

Quiet in here without budgie song or the pecking of Girlfriend or a mirror.

I started cleaning out the cage today; it's been sitting in the bathtub since Monday. Everything has to be cleaned anyway, but I didn't mention one thing on Monday. Before Pidgie died, he apparently started vomiting blood. It's splashed all over the top of the cage, and down at the bottom where he fell. Not pleasant to think about or clean up.

We had our weekly vegetable fix at Sweet Tomatoes and stopped by Borders. They have a book at the checkout counter that they're promoting that contains "useless information." Did you know Charlie Chaplin once came in third in a Charlie Chaplin lookalike contest?

Or that squirrels can live up to fifteen years in captivity but usually only live one year in the wild? (Unless, of course, they're cadging out of our bird feeder.)

I kept thinking the book would have been useful to Betty Roberts when she was developing questions for Brainstorm. :-)

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» Friday, May 18, 2007
Out and About
We've had a lovely respite since yesterday; we had a cold front go through on Wednesday night and have had the A/C off since Thursday morning. It won't last, but we'll enjoy it while it's here.

I had to go to the post awful to mail a small package to my cousin this morning. There were so many business customers mailing packages that the wait was like the lines before Christmas. Then I went up to the Barnes & Noble at Town Center, having not been in a couple of months and found a big surprise. I love looking at Susan Branch's handwritten, watercolor-decorated books, which are mostly recipes, but they are usually pretty expensive and I don't want recipes that bad. A couple of years ago she did an autumn book, which I drooled over, but it was $26.00.

Today I found it on remainder for $6.00. Yes! Along with the recipes there's a collection of wonderful autumn quotes, and of course her beautiful calligraphy and drawings in autumn watercolors.

Also stopped at JoAnn for a storage box and found a nice patriotic volume on sale for $5.00 (their Independence Day things are already 40 off), bought a liberty doll with a coupon at Hobby Lobby, and purchased Linda Ellerbee's Take Big Bites with my Border's coupon.

In between I stopped at both Petco and Petsmart because I was lonesome for budgie song. It's so awfully quiet at home. I want to wait a bit before getting another bird; besides, I need to wash and disinfect the cage just in case and am going to put in two more natural perches, which I bought today. There is a bird show coming up in Forest Park in June and another in Norcross in July (the same show we bought Pidgie from three years ago). I always worry about the birds in pet shops. I wish I could find a breeder in this area. James got Sylvester from a breeder in Warner Robins, but she isn't there any longer.

This afternoon I was peering out the living room window and saw the rabbit that James spotted a few nights ago nibbling on the clover in the next door neighbor's yard. It seemed to be driving a crow away from something on the ground nearby. I ran outside to shoo the crow away because I suspect it is a female rabbit and one of her babies had wandered away from its burrow. The crows will try to pick off young animals that size. Of course I frightened the rabbit, as well, but I hope I helped protect her child.

Another pleasant surprise tonight: we gave Vincent's another chance. I gave this place a scathing review about 18 months ago because the service sucked so badly that we walked out without eating. Tonight there was no wait for tables, but even if we did have to wait 15-20 minutes, it would have been worth it. Someone came to greet us immediately at the table and brought us drinks within five minutes—I remember how thirsty we were last time as we were ignored for over fifteen minutes—and I didn't hear other diners complaining how they had received their salad after their meal or didn't get their rolls or received the wrong order, nor did I see employees just standing around doing nothing while customers waited interminably for service. (The guy who was pretending to sweep was the limit.) Our waiter was Steve; he was prompt, attentive and friendly. We gave him a nice tip. Oh, and the food was good, too.

I have finally finished repairing the two badly-aged Wide Awake bound volumes that I bought that were falling apart. They are repaired with colored tape and don't look very good, but at least are now securely glued and the covers are intact. I am now painting the stand for my St. Joseph's altar. I didn't have the paint to do it this year. I've painted it with a very light coat of red so that the grain of the basswood will show through, to make it look rustic and a little aged. I have a round wooden plaque for the statue to be placed on that will go on top of the stand; this will be painted gold.

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Friday Five

1. Have you ever gone skinny-dipping?

Once, yes. Four of us went skinny-dipping at an SCA event.

2. When you're home alone, do you strip down to get comfortable?

Not that far. I usually wear a duster or a sleeveless top and shorts.

Do you ever go out without underwear (bra and/or panties) because it's more comfortable?

Nope.

3. Have you ever/Do you use the bathroom with the door open? Are you comfortable using public facilities?

At home, yes. Yes, even if the door doesn't lock. I just lean forward and hold the door shut. I've become quite adept at this since most places don't have doors that lock properly.

4. When getting intimate with your significant other, lights on or off?

Whatever. :-)

5. How comfortable are you with body exposure/nudity of others? Group shower rooms?, topless/nude beaches?, breastfeeding in public?

Didn't like it in gym class, don't go to the other. If I was a mother, I'd breastfeed wherever my child needed it, but I would cover up. Some people get so weirded out by breastfeeding. That's what breasts are for, after all. Not for Janet Jackson to flash at the Super Bowl.

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» Thursday, May 17, 2007
Thursday Threesome

From late night movies

::"Alien versus Predator"::

Onesome: Alien-- movies and paranormal horror stuff: your cup of tea? ...or did Mary Poppins just about take you to the limits on films?

Actually, The Wizard of Oz was my problem. I couldn't watch it when I was very small because the witch gave me nightmares. I never was fond of horror movies. I've watched a couple that Sam Neill did, like The Final Conflict and Possession, but Event Horizon and In the Mouth of Madness defeated me. I couldn't even get through Dead Calm without hyperventilating. I did watch Aliens once—but people getting intubated and having giant needles stuck into them on House is about as close to horror as I want to get.

Twosome: versus-- ...related to some of last week's answers: Do you ever go to the movies versus staying at home and waiting to rent them or see them on the tube?

We haven't gone to the movies since The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe. Waiting for Order of the Phoenix. Otherwise, eh.

Threesome: Predator-- pricing at the theatres: how are the prices locally for you? Can you afford an evening show and popcorn? ...or is it a matinee with a bottle of water smuggled in?

I haven't gone to a movie at night for...years. What's the price now anyway? Wait...that's the question. :-) Honestly, I don't know. We always go to matinees.

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» Wednesday, May 16, 2007
Monday Madness

1. Which web browser do you prefer?

Mozilla Firefox.

2. Are you a PC user or MAC user?

I have a PC. Macs sound nice, but... (Do they run WordPerfect?)

3. Will your next computer purchase happen within the next year (do you think)?

I hope not. James just built me a new one.

4. Will you purchase your next computer at a local store or via the internet?

James will probably build me another.

5. Have you had any experience with Windows Vista?

Nope. I still have Windows98. :-) I guess I need to upgrade to 2000 at some point.

6. What are your feelings about this new operating system (if any)?

I hear it's overly complicated. Frankly, it has a bunch of things I don't care about, and lots of nice pictures and 3-D graphics. Yawn.

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» Tuesday, May 15, 2007
More Books...
...in A Cozy Nook to Read In.

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I'm Here
I've watched House and Jeopardy, and washed and dried one load of laundry and finished drying another and put it all away. I'm continuing work on a DVD dubbing project, but my major effort today was cleaning up the mess made by the squirrels outside. I had to replace the foil over the birdseed container and make sure the contents were dry before adding the safflower seeds we bought at the wild bird store (supposedly squirrels don't like it) and the rest of Pidgie's seed (someone might as well enjoy it). Then I refilled the bird feeder, lacing it with cayenne, put out a new suet cake, smearing it with cayenne, and even wet down the boards that hold the feeder pole and sprinkled it with cayenne, and refilled the birds' water dish.

About a half hour after I finished this I heard "chip-chip-chip" from the deck and saw Mrs. Cardinal hopping around scavenging safflower seeds that I had scattered. I have only seen the male, not the female, and wondered if she had been setting eggs. Maybe Mr. Cardinal has baby duty today while she "gets out of the house." Some song sparrows showed up and I saw "Greedy Guts," the untidy white-breasted nuthatch.

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L'Envoi
He loved chicken soup...and his "teevee"...and pleating James' shirt with his beak...trying to chew those "strings" on Willow's fur...and jumping on the keyboard when I was trying to work...and the hull-less popcorn from Kroger (not to mention anything else we might be eating)...Merry "Chrisbird" music...and the cute birdie in the mirror...and having the shades up when it was cool enough...traveling in his carry box...and discovering new places to perch in motels...and always, always making love to Girlfriend.

Goodbye, Pigwidgeon

I'll lend you, for a little while, a bird of mine, He said.
For you to love while he lives, and mourn when he is dead.
It may be six or seven years, or maybe twenty-three,
But will you, till I call him back, take care of him for me?
He'll bring his charms to gladden you, and shall his stay be brief,
You'll have his lovely memories as solace for your grief.
I cannot promise he will stay, as all from earth return,
But there are lessons taught down there I want this bird to learn.
I've looked the whole world over in my search for teachers true,
And from the throngs that crowd life's lanes, I have selected you.
Now will you give him all your love - not think this labor vain,
Nor hate me when I come to call, to take him back again.
I fancied that I heard them say, 'Dear Lord, thy will be done.'
For all the joy this bird shall bring, the risk of grief we'll run.
We'll shower him with tenderness and love him while we may,
And for the happiness we've known, forever grateful stay.
And should the angels call for him much sooner than we planned,
We'll brave the bitter grief that comes, and try to understand.

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» Monday, May 14, 2007
Pidgie was gone when I got home this afternoon. I found him at the bottom of his cage.

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Off and On and Off Again
Not sure what Pidge's problem is. He was rarin' to go when we woke up yesterday morning, yet before we left he was spitting up a few seeds, so we stayed around another fifteen minutes to make sure he was okay.

Again, when we got home he was okay and I let him out, then he was spitting up seeds again and rather quiet. So I put the heating pad on top of his cage and covered him almost all the way and he rested for a couple of hours, then started to cheep. So I gradually lowered the temp in the cage, then uncovered him, and he came out and played, had his supper, and even tormented the dog a few minutes when she went to sit in James' lap (he flies over and patters down James' shirtfront, trying to get to the intriguing "string" that is her fur; Willow just walls her eyes and finally gets down). But there were a couple of times in between his playing that it was as if his battery ran down; he'd just stop, get quiet, look as if he were dozing off for a few minutes.

I tried slipping a minor amount of the liver crumbles in his seed before bed last night. I think he's just going to toss them overboard again. Maybe we need to put them in the food processor and make the bits a little smaller. I dunno. Budgies are so picky with their food. Pidge throws most of his seed on the floor of his cage and just eats the select favorites. I'm surprised he eats the Zupreem fruit pellets; none of my other birds would.

James had to drag the television from the spare room out for him to watch this morning. The satellite box has gone kerflooey again. It says we are getting a signal (you get the station ID when you change channels) but there is no picture and no sound. This isn't the first time it's done it, either.

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So I Get Into Work...
...it's 84°F in my cubicle. After two hours of the fan it's down to 81, but the heat certainly isn't doing my computer any good. It took 15 minutes for it to boot up this morning (that's not 15 minutes from the time I turned it on; it's 15 minutes from the time I actually signed in).

I have to go look for something on a co-worker's desk and there are ants wandering around in the papers in her inbox (apparently they have spread from their infestation in my supervisor's office). And we're on the third floor!

They remodeled the bathroom so it is all esthetically pleasing. But the sinks still back up and the toilets clog if you look at them the wrong way.

What's this again about the cushy life of Federal employees? You must be thinking of Congress.

Bother the ants. Now I'm itchy...

[9:42 a.m.: Lovely. The building management technician just walked down the whole corridor and back, checking all the A/C vents. Guess whose he didn't check. That's riiiiiight. He did pause, glance backward into my cubicle as if I wasn't there, and walk straight on without checking the vent.

I'm only wearing a bright yellow top and a sky blue visor to keep the lights out of my eyes; it's not like I blend in with the woodwork! How nice it is to be invisible.]

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» Saturday, May 12, 2007
Pidgie Post
We put him to bed early last night, and he seems back to normal today. Perhaps he just had a little birdie tummy-ache—not quite "up to fluff," if you know what I mean.

It's possible he was feeling a bit down because he hadn't eaten a lot two days previously: I mixed his seed with the special pellets I bought from the vet for him, which are supposed to be low-fat and better for his liver. He just tossed them "overboard." Sigh. Since he likes the ZuPreem fruit pellets I thought I might not have any trouble with them. Yesterday I gave up and just refilled the dish with seed.

He had millet for his "bird-day" and picked the stalk clean.

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"As God is My Witness..."
Yes, James did buy the "butchered" WKRP in Cincinnati. We'd both have preferred it intact, but the show is still hilarious despite the idiot music cuts.

My favorite character at WKRP was always Les Nessman, the newsman who took hog futures so seriously and couldn't pronounce Chi-Chi Rodriguez to save his life. His commentary during the infamous Thanksgiving episode was a classic. (I also liked Bailey Quarters, the only "normal" person in the bunch.)

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» Friday, May 11, 2007
Completely Crazy
That's it. Work is driving me bonkers. I was so frustrated yesterday I forgot to post that it was Pigwidgeon's birthday. He was three yesterday.

And tonight I'm worried about him. He's gotten awfully quiet as the day has gone on. We had a big thunderstorm about seven and I made sure he was safe in his cage; he didn't want to go in. Now he's acting a bit withdrawn. Right now he's sitting on the perch on the back of his cage, near the two buttons he likes to play with, especially the pink one that says "Anything not nailed down is a budgie toy." And I just noticed a couple of hours ago that the black mark on his left leg has gotten larger.

::sigh::

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Cool (Literally) Pic!
Skyline of Boston in the Late 1950s, when the old John Hancock tower was the tallest building in New England.

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» Thursday, May 10, 2007
Thursday Threesome

Game time!

::Super Mario Brothers::

Onesome: Super-- heroes and comic book characters? Have you seen "Spiderman 3" yet? Will you?

No. Actually don't care. We missed #2 (I think that was when my Mom was sick, so I bought the DVD and we never watched it and I wasn't interested in seeing the original again—ended up donating them to Goodwill.

Twosome: Mario-- Brothers led one gaming revolution: are you a gamer? Online? ...or is this one of those things you just don't even notice?

Gamer as in role-playing? No. Games...yes. We have games night occasionally with friends: we play Uno, Scrabble, Cranium, Imaginiff... Computer games: I like Bookworm and have played Bejeweled. I still play Jumpman, even if it is 2D, and have played Scrabble and Jeopardy on the computer. I have two games called "The Last Express" and "Sheep" which I loaded and never have played.

Threesome: "Brothers-- in Arms"? Just listening to some old Dire Straits this evening: how about something new on your music radar you can share with the gang!

Nothing new. Still playing New Age (mostly George Winston), Rupert Holmes, and 1940s stuff.

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» Wednesday, May 09, 2007
Cabbages and Kings
Two days of nice weather and now back to the A/C, not so much for the daytime temp as for the nighttime. Slept under light blankets last night and was still too warm.

The TruGreen folks showed up this morning for the first treatment. It sure didn't take long: I was on the telephone for the whole thing (granted, it was a long phone call made longer by Willow barking).

Mr. Squirrel, in desperation against the cayenne, is now raiding the suet. We are now occasionally seeing a male cardinal at the feeder, but no female. I am not sure if he is a "bachelor" or if "the missus" is setting eggs.

And we've had a "reply all" war at work again. This hasn't happened for a year or so. Someone sent out a broadcast message about training classes. Someone responded with a reply all. Now we have a flurry of "reply all" messages asking to be removed from the list, not to use "reply all," to criticize people for using "reply all" (while using "reply all" of course), and the folks who try to make a joke out of it. An amusing diversion to the day.

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» Tuesday, May 08, 2007
Underwhelmed
A "whipped" Blackmask.com is back: see A Cozy Nook.

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» Monday, May 07, 2007
There's a Little List
The Sci-Fi 25: "EW's picks for the genre's greatest moments from the past 25 years."

Sorry, Doctor Who should have been higher. And where on earth is Babylon 5???? Even with the cock-up that messed up fifth season, it had more brains than...The Matrix. Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind was SF? From the title I thought it was an Oprah's book club offering.

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» Sunday, May 06, 2007
Anyone Catch the CDC Employee on HGTV Tonight?
He was on the series My First Place. Public health analyst who's a Federal employee? He'd have to be from CDC.

They said his full name and I found him in our e-mail directory.

Cool house.

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In a Pinch
My glasses pinch most of the time.

This happens with all my glasses, and it's gotten worse as I get older, probably due to the after-effects of breaking my nose in 1980 after falling face-first on a concrete floor at work. I suppose I could solve the problem with contacts. I have dozens of friends and relatives with contacts and they're happy. But the thought of putting a sliver of plastic in my eye...no. Just can't. My eyes itch all the time anyway. Can't rub them with contacts in.

Occasionally I can go a day to almost a week without the pinch bothering me, but usually it does. To solve the problem, I put Band-Aid "spots," the circular little pads, on either side of my nose where the glasses rub.

This morning I forgot, which is why I arrived home this afternoon with a screaming headache so bad that I wanted to throw up. Three ibuprofen and a laydown on the futon for an hour did wonders.

Otherwise it was a nice day. We had to go out to Dunwoody to get special food for Pidgie; the vet is afraid his beak is growing so fast because of liver disease. When we got there the staff was at lunch, so we had our own at Jersey Mike's—I love Jersey Mike's; they use real roast beef in their sandwiches, not that ersatz processed "roast beef loaf" like Arby's—and then ducked into a wild bird store in hopes they had a cheap solution to the squirrel problem. No dice (although they had some hilarious squirrel T-shirts and flags), but I got some safflower seeds, which squirrels are not supposed to like, and a bird called Why Don't Woodpeckers Get Headaches? (And Other Bird Questions You Know You Want to Ask) by Mike O'Connor, who does a birding column for a newspaper on Cape Cod and who runs a birder supply store. The tone is irreverent, if not downright funny—besides, anyone who thinks chickadees are the best wild bird ever is aces in my book. :-)

We got the special food as well as six months more Revolution for Wil; when the tech named the price I nearly had heart failure (not for the food, for the Revolution—aieeeeee!).

By now the headache was starting to attack, but we briefly stopped at Michael's for James to get a new bottle for his airbrush and then had to go to Costco for gas and the usual milk. I splurged and got two of the Rick Steves' DVDs, the one on England and the one on Scotland and Ireland. Maybe next payday I can get the two Italian ones, then I'll think about the rest.

We're having a brief cooler respite, 70s instead of 80s, for a couple of days, so after soothing the savage beast that was my pinching glasses headache, I "tore open the shutters and threw up the sash" on all the windows (unfortunately there was no "breast of newfallen snow") and turned all the fans on "afterburner." Had potlucks for supper, watched Rick Steves do Scotland and Rose befriend a Dalek on Doctor Who, and finished envying woodpeckers. :-)

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» Saturday, May 05, 2007
There and Back Again
We set out for Warner Robins this morning, since James' mom is working on Mother's Day. We stopped at Jonesboro on the way down to hit their Books-a-Million, a Hallmark store, and the flea market. The latter has several stalls selling supposedly pedigreed puppies and one that sells all sorts of birds. The puppies seem well cared for, but it's hard to tell if they are from puppy mills. James was particularly taken with a little schnauzer, but I liked the black Pom myself. The Jack Russells were all innocent-faced, like the ones on calendars.

It makes me sad. Being a pet animal is such a crapshoot, whether you're from a "mill" or not. You could end up with a loving family or with rotters. Of course life's no better for the wild ones. Life, in the end, is like that.

So we had a nice visit and Nicki liked her towels: she is moving to Colorado at the end of the month and we had some new towels that we never used. We were supposed to take James' mom out for lunch, and we did get the lunch menu, but by the time we actually got served it turned out to be supper. I've never seen a Longhorn with service so slow. James suspected some employees didn't show up for their shift because the waitress said they had been "slammed" all afternoon, but it didn't look anywhere as busy as the Longhorn on the East-West connector gets and the service is never that slow. But everything was delicious and we had a nice lunch. (While we were waiting, we had half an eye on the television, which was showing Fellowship of the Ring and Bilbo's elevendy-first birthday party...hence the title of this post.)

It had been quite nice when we left Atlanta; a little overcast and cool, perfect for driving. In fact it was so cool that most of the way we had to have the car windows up. But we had a thunderstorm while in Robins and when we left it was smothery and oppressive—until we reached a point between Gray and Forsyth, when it was as if a giant hand swept the humidity away.

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» Friday, May 04, 2007
Darting About
I hadn't had a "day off" in about a month, so I crammed a lot into today. It opened with sleeping late (thank God, I haven't had more than six hours sleep in days) and continued with listening to two funny Jack Benny radio shows. One featured Bob Hope, and he played in a spoof of his own Road to Bali with bandleader Bob Crosby (Bing's brother) playing Bing. I was surprised at how much Bob sounded like Bing when he sang. Sometimes brothers don't sound like one another at all. (Jack played the octopus who was guarding the treasure. Of course!)

Stops:
• Books-a-Million. I got a book about dogs from the remainder stack. I suppose we need another dog book like we need spilled birdseed, but this was published in England, and instead of just being about breeds and dog care, has a quite sizable section about dogs in history, dog shows, extinct breeds, etc.
• Petco. I was checking out with Pidgie's fruit-flavored pellets and the cashier had a baby parrotlet clinging to her shirt. He was making cross noises; turns out he is being hand-fed and was begging for his lunch! He sat on my finger for about a minute, still complaining; weighs no more than a few feathers and smaller than Pidgie.
• JoAnn. Needed a frame for a small fall photo of an old gristmill. Found a cross-stitch kit with an oak-acorn motif on clearance. I can substitute fall colors for the green oak leaves. JoAnn has had, since Valentine's Day in its dollar bins, small six-tube kits of glitter in appropriate colors. I have bought the Valentine's Day kit, the Easter kit, the summer kit (mostly blues), and now an Independence Day kit. I'm wondering if they will have a fall kit; pretty certain a Hallowe'en kit and Christmas kit are upcoming. I'd love a fall kit: dark yellow, orange, orangy-red, copper, gold, purple.
• Linens'n'Things and Bed, Bath and Beyond. I bought an extender pole that comes with a squeegee, a lightbulb changer, a floodlight changer, and a lambswool duster. Even my extendible Swiffer duster won't reach the peak of the ceiling in the living room and I don't want cobwebs.
• Wally-World. The usual: soup, tortillas, yogurt...zzzz.
• Borders. Bought a book called Penny From Heaven, a 1950s set novel about a girl with a large Italian family on her father's side. Usually I avoid books with Italian-American families like the proverbial plague: they're either Mafia-obsessed or don't sound like real Italian families. This one, though...perfect. Already finished it.
• Hobby Lobby. Some nice Independence Day things. Tick. VG.

And home to read. After supper we went to Borders in Buckhead by a circuituous route to avoid the Chastain Park concert and the bar crowd. Bruster's for dessert, and now it's bedtime.

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Friday Five

My life would not be the same without this...

1. song/movie/book:


Christmas music.

2. person:

My husband.

3. place:

Newport, Rhode Island.

4. event:

Christmas.

5. self indulgence:

Dark chocolate. (I was going to say books, but they aren't a self-indulgence; they are a necessity.)

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» Thursday, May 03, 2007
Thursday Threesome

From the? Well...

::Innate Organizational Skills::

Onesome: Innate-- talents? Do you have any you're willing to share? Maybe perfect pitch? ...or the ability to tie a cherry stem into a knot with your tongue? How about a "sense of direction"? Surely you can toss something out to the gang to to wonder about...

I can befriend magical, enchanting creatures who sing with the voice of an angel and reach the heights on delightful wings.

(Just call me "Speaker to Budgies." <g>)

Twosome: Organizational-- style? "A place for everything and everything in its place"? ...or maybe, "the bills are somewhere in that stack" and the calendar still says "2006"? What's your system?

I have online banking. The bills get paid when I receive them, unless it's before the payday scheduled for that bill. I have a calendar near the computer that is marked out which bills are paid on what payday for both James and I.

Not quite sure of all that embroidery thread, though.

Threesome: Skills-- How are you about power tools? ...and tools in general? Are you a user or do you call someone to assist?

James uses the power tools. He bought me a glue gun, but I've never used it; the idea makes me nervous.

On the other hand, I'd love to rent a chain saw to get what's leftover of the stumps in our yard, but he won't let me. Considering how many power cords I chopped in half with the hedge clipper, I guess it's best. :-)

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Godspeed, Wally Schirra
I watched all the space coverage growing up. We just finished rewatching From the Earth to the Moon. You know what? I want my future back: the one where we were going to cure cancer, have a base on the moon, drive electric cars, travel in supersonic aircraft and bullet trains...

John F. Kennedy is turning in his grave.

Astronaut Walter Schirra Dies at 84

Astronaut Wally Schirra Reflecting on the View from Space

U.S. Space Pioneer Wally Schirra Dies at 84

Schirra Reax from Gene Cernan

Astronaut Wally Schirra Dies

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» Wednesday, May 02, 2007
Not Walking Toward the Light
Really disappointed in my lunch. I'd bought a nice salad of baby greens at Harry's on Saturday and applied what they said was "Italian dressing." Ugh. It was oily tasting and peppery, not a hint of vinegar at all, and bitter. I finally had to abandon it.

I wish to God we could find the sweet-but-tart Oriental dressing they used to have at Rockfords! We have tried two similar ginger sesame dressings; one was too sweet, one not sweet enough and vinegary instead. Others have pepper in them, so we don't buy them.

I took Willow out after eating, intending to just let her avail herself in the back yard. But when we went out for the mail, she headed for the sidewalk. I had my hat, so we did a two-third walk, not venturing into the two cul-de-sacs. I had my float on, so the heat wasn't so bad, but the glare of the sun off the sidewalk was unbelieveable. If we do this again tomorrow I'm going for my sunglasses. Just ten minutes gave me a headache.

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Nibbled to Death by Ducks Bugs
Scott (the exterminator) has just come again. He seemed a bit ticked that the other tech had not read our invoice carefully, the one that indicates we are using "green" service. He dusted and sprayed the kitchen again, then regranulated the yard. He had warned me that because it rained the day he treated the first time, the treatment might not take. Since there's apparently no sign of any possible rain till Friday, this may work better.

He told me he found a big anthill on the right side of the house (as you face it) and they were climbing up the wall of the house. Aieee! We usually don't go that way into the back yard, so we never saw it.

I asked him if he had something to repel squirrels and he laughed. Apparently they've been getting into his bird feeder, too. He finally told his wife he was tired of feeding them. "Tell 'em to get a job." LOL.

I've also signed us up with a lawn service to keep it looking nice. They will kill the weeds, seed if needed, lime, and aerate.

We need to get new pine straw for the strip around the house and the two beds out front. Wondering if cedar chips would be better. Doesn't cedar repel insects?

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