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, November 30, 2007
Some Stuff Goes Out, Some Stuff Comes In
I realized at 10 p.m. last night that I had planned to mail out gifts this morning and went into hyperdrive. Made two boxes and one parcel, and this morning printed out another of our annual Christmas letters to enclose with the card to friends in England.

Only fly in the mailing ointment was that I realized this morning that I didn't have Nicki's address to send her her Christmas gift. Unless she is coming home for Christmas, in which case never mind.

So I hit the bank first, then the post awful, where it wasn't much of a wait (which was the reason for mailing early anyway, besides being able to send parcel post instead of first class). Next I stopped by the Marietta Welcome Center to get tickets for the Holiday Tour of Homes this weekend.

After that I was free to amuse myself. I stopped at Michael's, then dropped in a couple of stores at the Avenue at East Cobb, including Bath and Body Works. James has been asking me for gift hints; I think I want some of their Japanese Cherry Blossom eau de toilette. Yeah, I know, something "girly." Sometimes a girl just wants to smell like a girl.

When I finished up there, I drove about a mile or so west to St. Ann's Church and School. They were having something called the "Apple Annie Christmas Market." I had never gone to this and was surprised at how crowded it was. People were parked on the grass verges on both sides of Roswell Road, which is a busy four lane highway. Luckily there is a light right at Bishop's Lane Road (great name for a road next to a Catholic church, right?). I turned into the road and found only an exit to the parking lot of the church, but I could see empty spaces. I tried to find an entrance, but finally had to turn around and come back. The cop guarding the entrance told me I absolutely could not get in because the parking lot was full, I would have to park on the street. I tried to tell him there were parking places, but he just told me to quit blocking the road.

So I went out to Roswell Road and parked. When I walked across the parking lot there were at least a dozen spaces in eye view. When I got into the show you betcha I complained.

This was an excellent craft show. The sellers, I overheard, are picked by judges; you can't just rent a booth and sell your product. The only problem was that these were good crafts, therefore pretty steep prices. I didn't buy much—some all-natural air freshener from one herbal vendor and a cute snowflake pin from another—until I got downstairs and found the lady who was selling primitive Christmas decorations. I have always wanted blocks that spell out "Merry Christmas"—well, now I do. I also got two tiny candles in small star-shaped pewter-like candle holders that duplicated old-fashioned candle holders, two cornucopias, a little embroidered sign that says "comfort and joy," and a winged cow made out of jingle bells labeled "Holy Cow!"

One artist was selling beautiful chickadee prints, but I simply didn't have the money for one.

I came home by Abecedarius, the needlework store, and had to laugh at her "no solicitors" sign on the door, because she had added to it "NO AT&T, Hawks, Thrashers." She told me when she asked the AT&T guy to leave because she didn't want solicitors that he had given her the finger. Geez. I would have called AT&T on the jerk. Anyway, I agonized over a gorgeous band-sampler winter design before deciding I really didn't have the time to do it. Abecedarius doesn't stock the usual cross-stitch patterns you see in the craft stores like Michaels and JoAnn, but has specialty samplers, including stuff from Shepherd's Bush and reproductions of antique samplers. I just like to go in there and drool over the samples.

A fruitless stop at Book Nook, then home to a late lunch of leftover turkey soup and noodles. I'd only had a meal bar and half a gingerbread doughnut (nice and spicy; pity Dunkin Donuts feels it has to put that gross overly-sweet sugar icing on it—I guess they want to keep up with [gag] Krispy Kreme) for breakfast, so I had a headache and ended up lying down until James got home. We had supper at Sweet Tomatoes, where I chowed down on lots of salad and another bowl of soup, then visited JoAnn and Linens'n'Things before heading home.

Unfortunately I still had the headache when I got home so I had to take something for it, which meant I was late taking my heart pill which meant I couldn't take anything for my stomach, which means I'm now nauseated re-tasting salad dressing. ::sigh:: I guess it's long enough that I can go chew on a Pepto Bismol...

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» Thursday, November 29, 2007
Don't Faint
Christmas Book LinkI did Vampry's "TV Meme" and actually posted it in my Live Journal.

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» Wednesday, November 28, 2007
A Tale of Two Mornings and One Day
There was the most extraordinary sunrise yesterday, like something out of an idealized Thomas Kincade painting. As I neared work and exited the freeway, the tree line was gone and the sunrise spread across the east. There were rippling clouds covering most of the sky and between these was light like molten fire, an eye-popping orange, with the clouds between grey and purple layers. The rest of the sky was mauve highlighted with orange-red.

I almost pulled off into the movie theatre parking lot to take a picture with my phone, but I would be late if I did and I didn't like the idea of being in a dark parking lot alone. Sure was lovely, though.

Something equally extraordinary happened last night. I was cold. I woke at 2 a.m. curled into a tight ball with my feet like ice. I tried to go back to sleep. Then I took the fan out of the window. Finally I changed into flannel pajamas. Then I had to add fuzzy socks. Had to shut the fan off altogether, which I haven't done in months, even when it was cold. I was still cold, but waited it out and finally fell back to sleep again. Weird.

It was easier to explain after James came back in from walking Willow after we got up: there was frost everywhere.

It was a telework day and I spent it with Christmas music in the background. I have broken out my cassettes. I have some unique albums on cassette, including three British tapes I bought when Oxford Books went out of business, the choir of Trinity Church in Boston singing (including the famous carol written by their pastor, Phillips Brooks, after a trip to the Holy Land: "O Little Town of Bethlehem"), and the Amor Artis group. I got through three purchase requests and many e-mails, and during lunch had the rest of my "Happy Family" from Friday supper (we went to the Oriental Café again; their wonton soup is outstanding) and worked on the Christmas letter to go with our cards.

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» Monday, November 26, 2007
It's Still Raining
Not hard, not enough, but some. Made driving a bit treacherous this morning; I don't think anyone around here remembers how to drive in the rain. Someone cut in front of me and I slammed on the brakes, only to have the car start to skid and the ground scrape, but I reacted quickly enough and remembered to tap them rather than jam. Hairy two seconds, though...seemed longer. <wry grin>

Have cranked up the Christmas carols while I do purchase orders; musically, it's my favorite time of the year. I wait all year long for 24-hour carols. Finally gave the new Mannheim Steamroller CD a good listen this morning—disappointing. Maybe it's just because the first two were so novel, but I think the early arrangements were more inventive and memorable. Also...I love Johnny Mathis; I have his classic Christmas album as an LP. Don't mind Olivia Newton-John or Chip Davis. But when I listen to Mannheim Steamroller, I want instrumentals. Not interested in vocals.

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» Sunday, November 25, 2007
Electronic Sunday
It was a typical November day: damp, chilly, and drizzly/rainy.

In a place that needs rain so much, this means it was an absolutely beautiful day. How I think about two years ago, when it rained nearly every day during the summer, so much that the back yard smelled like primordial swamp!

I find that, although I am taking a bit longer to get warmer, I am sleeping quite comfortably under the new quilt. So we had a nice eight-hours sleep before doing a few chores and then heading out to Fry's. James is looking for an AC power cord for the Magellan so he can program some addresses in.

We used the gadget to get out to Fry's in Alpharetta. Predictably, it does not have our address in its database yet (several of the online maps do not), so we used the address of the house on the corner. It was interesting to see how it routed us. For instance, we would not ordinarily use one road if it was a Saturday; too much traffic. However, the back way it used to take us to the route we usually use was quite expedient.

We had the Sirius Pops channel on during the drive; they are playing classical-oriented Christmas music as well as traditional carols. It occurred to me that there was nothing I enjoyed more than driving out on a nice chilly day with my favorite guy and Christmas music playing on the radio. Went through the sale papers from the paper as we drove.

Fry's was nice and warm and chummy after the chilly drive, and more people than we've ever seen there (the store at Gwinnett Mall is always more crowded). We had lunch in the cafe—nice hot potato soup in a bread bowl for me!—and had a fruitless search for an AC adapter. They had one only for a Garmin. On the other hand, they had the Rocky and Bullwinkle second and third season sets for only $15 each.

We came home virtually through the same route, although James had substituted "fastest route" for "no highways" on the GPS unit and we completely befuddled it by turning "off course" because we wanted to stop at MicroCenter. For the first five turns it had to replot a course to the original direction, until it plotted an alternate course instead. It's kinda nifty: tells you about two miles, and then one mile, then a half a mile, before a turn, and chimes when you get to the turn. The display is 3D while the closeup during the turn only in two dimensions.

We struck out at MicroCenter, too; they told us to go to Radio Shack, which had been my first idea. :-) (Like I was going to turn down an opportunity to go to Fry's! It's like a candy store for adults.) Cumberland Mall was slightly off our course, too, but the GPS gallantly replotted (complaining several times, "As soon as possible, please make a legal U turn!") until it could tell us how to get home from the "hidden parking deck," our favorite place to park. (I have seen Cumberland Mall at Christmas with people parking "in the galleries," as I call the outer lots, and you can drive right in this level of the parking deck and at the most find it half full. Today there were six cars there while people circled the mall looking for close parking spaces outside.)

Radio Shack did have what we wanted, a wall plug called an "iGo." It is variable amperage/wattage, depending on what your unit needs, with interchangeable tips so that it fits the gadget you are charging. It has tips/plugs for cell phones, PDAs, iPods, etc. (You can also get a kit with a car charger and a trio unit of car charger, AC plug, and USB charger.) So tonight James has plotted several scenarios out, including his route to work, to his mother's, and right now up to Unicoi.

We had homemade turkey soup with rice for supper, thick with turkey meat, and the rest of Lin Butler's pumpkin pie for dessert, and watched March of the Penguins for the first time. Very lovely and lyrical, and of course the baby penguins are too cute for words. Amazing how they survive the brutal cold!

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» Saturday, November 24, 2007
Finding Our Way
Compared to yesterday, it was a leisurely arising before making the weekly visit to the hobby shop. We had already exchanged Shrek the Third last night after dinner (along with a visit to Borders, where we bumped into our Thanksgiving hosts, the Butlers), so we were free to go out to Trader Joe's and get another pumpkin tart and then visit the toney-titled "Avenue at West Cobb," where I picked up a tin of peppermint bark at Williams-Sonoma as a treat for Christmas. A lot of people sell peppermint bark but they are all disappointments after you have eaten Williams-Sonoma's. The box lasts for two Christmases, so it's an affordable luxury. We also stopped by Bath and Body Works and bought two Christmas gifts; that leaves us with two left to get.

In addition, went into Border's and found Madelyn Alt's newest "Bewitching Mystery." I was looking at the Susan Wittig Albert books and think I might like to read all the Beatrix Potter series, or at least test out the first one. There's an interesting-looking herbal daybook based on her China Bayles mystery series, which I have never read.

We stopped at Wild Birds Unlimited on the way there and bought a magnetic Christmas cover for the mailbox. They had three that I liked, one of a pair of cardinals on a snowy branch, one a sketchy nativity scene, but I bought the third, an arrangement of three enlarged postage stamps, each with a wild bird on it. There is a gelato shop next door, so we decided to try some. It was flavorful, but I found it too sweet.

Unfortunately as the day went on and the clouds built up leading into some fairly inconsequential showers tonight, I started developing a migraine. I managed to get through BJs (and the coveted Prilosec-on-sale) and we stopped to pick up dinner at the Atlanta Bread Company instead of eating out, but it was almost an hour before I could enjoy my Asian salad (chicken breast, romaine lettuce, diced tomato, mandarin oranges and slivered almonds with Asian-sesame dressing) and enjoy my parcel, which was my copy of Flax: Police Dog from Germany. This was a book written in the 1920s that I enjoyed as a library book when I was a kid. Today it would be considered an odd choice for an elementary school kid but this very old-fashioned library didn't have many choices. (I remember complaining to my mom that the newest book they had there had a girl driving a car with a running board. I was very bitter about it. Now I'd give a lot to see those books again!)

Anyway, James indulged in something he's wanted for a while: a GPS unit for the car. We didn't have a lot of money for such a gadget, so we got a low-model Magellan that BJ's had on special ($90 off with the coupon). He was itching to mess with it, but it doesn't come with an AC power cord, just the car jack, and he didn't want to go out in the garage. We had AC adapters, but all were six volts and this gadget needs five volts. He mused so much about maybe Walmart having one that after we got done watching Torchwood (with James complaining mightily about the next-to-the-last scene and me agreeing but not complaining), we went to Walmart.

Man, we should shop here at 10 p.m. on Saturday all all the time. I think there were less than two dozen people in the store. We found adapters with adjustable voltage, but not one that adjusted to five volts. Since we were there anyway, we finished the shopping: yogurt, bananas, chicken broth, all that exciting stuff. No one was at the checkout line. The cashier was chatty and friendly. We were home by eleven! Yow.

Incidentally, passed a dozen houses with Christmas lights already blazing.

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» Friday, November 23, 2007
Black Friday, Ho!
Christmas Book LinkThey had a laptop at Best Buy for $300.00. James was Really Tempted, but he had to work today. I was tempted, but I wasn't getting up at 2:00 a.m. to get in line at Best Buy, God help me.

I did get up at six, my usual hour when I don't telework. Yesterday while the Macy's parade went from Columbus Circle to Herald Square, I was looking through sales flyers, cutting out what I was interested in, and labeling the cutouts with a notation of what store it was.

The only thing I really wanted I got first: I went directly to Staples on Dallas Highway and got a second memory card for my camera. It was half the price of the original. We never did get a Staples flyer yesterday—I'd found out about the sale on the Black Friday website—so I didn't know something else was on sale for the same price, something that James might find useful. Everyone in line was very nice and we were joking back and forth about having been directed to the wrong place for both these objects.

I ran next door to Target because I had seen they had Shrek the Third on sale and I had a coupon for it, too. I also bought National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation, which I've never seen in its entirety, since it was on sale for $6.

Next I headed down to Belk, also on Dallas Highway. This is a store I never go in, so I had to be directed to where they had the Hometics heat massage unit for your neck. My arthritis is getting worse and causing me headaches, and I thought it would be useful.

Nipped in across the street at the Avenue at West Cobb, a bit of a break from the madding crowd, but it was after eight and I had to hurry up to Town Center if I wanted to use my Michael's coupon. This was good even on sale items, so I got some trees for our Christmas village and some other small things. Next I went to JoAnn for some winter-oriented decorations I'd seen the last time I was there (their coupon was the same, even good on sale items), and then to Bed, Bath & Beyond. I had a 20 percent off the entire purchase coupon, but there wasn't much I wanted there. I did get some potpourri pine scent to put under the Christmas tree since we can't have the real thing.

And then...I went to the mall. I said that if I found a close parking space in what looked like almost SRO space in the parking lot, I'd stop. Someone pulled out of a space near Sears just as I decided this. A sign!

I found a gift for my mother-in-law at Sears and also bought a couple of half-price, inexpensive gadgets for the car. The big purchase was a "handmade" patchwork quilt in a star pattern and fall colors; all the quilts were on sale $35 no matter which size. I am usually too warm under our comforter and it's beginning to look a little worse for wear. In fact, I'm hoping with the lighter cover I can actually start wearing flannel jammies again. I'm just wondering if I will be able to sleep with the lighter weight because I am so used to the comforter. We'll see. I hope it will work, since it looks very pretty on the bed.

By then it was noon and I headed home. I didn't have the BJs coupon for the discount Prilosec anyway. :-) Discovered when I got home that I will have to exchange Shrek the Third since I got the (yeech) full screen version.

The best thing that happened? When I got in the door and called to Schuyler she chirped back. That's better than all the quilts on earth. :-)

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How You Know...
Christmas Book Link...you're getting old:

A special flyer arrives for a store with coupons for Thanksgiving weekend. You page through it and start squealing in delight...because it has a $5 off coupon on the expensive OTC drug you must regularly take.

Oy veh... :-)

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» Thursday, November 22, 2007
Happy Thanksgiving

Give thanks for blessings tiny and large, and for just being alive.

(And, in our case, for Willow being okay.)

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» Wednesday, November 21, 2007
James Herriot I Ain't
Willow needed a bath, so I gave her one. It went wrong from the start. We discovered the shampoo we bought was actually conditioner, so while I wetted her down, James went to get our shampoo. The shower head upended and drenched me. Willow kept shaking off before I shut the shower curtain and I had to mop the floor.

I told James that since her nails were soft we should trim them. She hates to have her nails trimmed. Still, we got through all of them; he did the back claws and I did the front and it was fine till the last dewclaw; she jerked her paw and I cut through the quick. She pulled away and there she was, bleeding. I sat on the floor putting pressure on the claw while James fetched the styptic pencil, peroxide, gauze and Scotch tape (since apparently we have no white adhesive tape). I cleaned it off and wrapped it, and it seemed okay for a few minutes, then it started to bleed again. James held her while I unwrapped it and got a good look at the claw; good heavens, no wonder it was bleeding—when she jerked I cut about half of it off rather than just the tip. So I cleaned around again and applied styptic pencil again and it looked like it had stopped bleeding by then, so now it's re-wrapped and we're watching her.

If Seigfried Farnon walks in, I quit. :-)

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Thanksgiving Eve
Spent the work day setting up orders to do on Monday and sorted out a payment problem, the usual stuff.

Spent a much more enjoyable lunch hour updating my Addie Mills webpage, adding some new photos and re-scanning old ones so they'd look better. I already had the text corrected, so it was relatively simple to pop in the new images. Simple, but time consuming.

It's been almighty warm for November, in the low 70s, for two days. They say rain is approaching again...we need every other day of good long soakers now, since Lake Lanier is at its lowest point since December of 1981—it is only 68 percent full—and Lake Allatoona is less that half full. . I see anyone watering their idiot lawn and you bet I will report them. The radar map says it is raining in northwest Georgia and some "green clouds" are south and west of us with a scattered line behind. Supposedly a larger storm is in store for Sunday. The wind picked up about late afternoon, looking promising, but it is quiet again now. I used the lull to go out and take photos of the Thanksgiving decorations.

I have a pot of rice on to cook for soup and am in the middle of re-reading The Thanksgiving Treasure. Schuyler is asleep and Willow, of course, is patiently waiting for her daddy. All the Christmas music channels started on Monday, so I started out listening to the Holiday Music Channel on Dish, but abandoned it for Sirius' Classical Pops channel, which is playing carols, from uptempo versions of "Deck the Halls" to Bach's Oratorio. This way I am in no danger of hearing "The Christmas Shoes." :-)

(They keep playing "The Hallelujah Chorus." Sigh. That's an Easter song, guys. The Christmas song from "The Messiah" is "For Unto Us a Child is Born.")

We are about to finish the last quarter of the pumpkin tart from Trader Joe's. I hope these are available for the rest of the year at least, because it is delicious...nice and spicy; the ginger in the pumpkin has a bite!

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» Monday, November 19, 2007
Leaves and Lights Alight
Turnings and trappings overlap in Holiday Harbour.

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» Sunday, November 18, 2007
Sole Sunday, Part 2
So I've had an apple and some of the pumpkin seeds I bought yesterday, and just finished playing the recently aired-in-England "Time Crash," the Doctor Who short done for "Children in Need." (Thanks for the link, Rodney.) There's also a "Doctor Who Confidential" to go with it that's nearly as long as the 8 minute production.

I absolutely fell over laughing at "...you're a fan!" Too delicious.

Earlier I took Schuyler with me into my craft room. She stared askance at the light overhead and was a bit quiet, but didn't go flappy or anything. Maybe something will give. She's not really afraid of us. Especially at night she will come to the upper perch and let me talk to her. Sometimes if I'm close she creeps up to the bars and I can kiss her. Sometimes I can even place a finger-tip up to the bars and she will nip at it, then back up, surprised at her own audacity.

I painted a frame which I will be decorating with seashells and glass, and also glass-painted the four leaded blank glass ornaments I bought at Michael's: a wreath, an angel, a candy cane and a pine tree. These are for the sidelights of the front door to replace during Christmas the autumn leaves that are there year-round. Willow came and slept outside the door, and we listened to half an Andy Williams Christmas LP and also The Waltons Christmas album.

Before we retreated to the room, I sat and watched The Thanksgiving Treasure. Hope this gets a DVD release some time. A DVD copy of an EP videotape just isn't the same.

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Sole Sunday
James had to work today (his day off is Thanksgiving; duh) and Willow is lying gloomily in her crate because Daddy is gone. (He got the rotten shift, too, noon to nine, the only advantage to this being we got to sleep late.)

I've been tidying at present and trying to forget how nauseated I feel. A few months ago, although I eat the Lower Sugar Maple and Brown Sugar Quaker Oatmeal which only has 4g of sugar, I decided to buy a box of the Weight Control version. This uses malitol and sorbitol in place of real sugar.

All I can say is...ugh. When you open the packet of the Lower Sugar oatmeal, it smells like oats with a faint hint of cinnamon/maple. When you open the Weight Control, it smells like a sugar bowl. It literally turns my stomach. When you mix it up, it turns to sticky glop, no matter how much water you add.

Still, I haven't wanted to waste it, so this morning since it was going to be my lunch as well, I mixed up a packet of the Weight Control with a packet of the Lower Sugar, so now I'm sick to my stomach. The heck with "use it up, wear it out, make it do or do without." I'll do without. Out in the trash it goes. It might be edible if I was starving to death, but that's about it.

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» Saturday, November 17, 2007
A Varied Day
We brought an interesting new cake recipe to a gathering this morning, one that someone on "Christmas to the Max" had posted. You take a chocolate cake mix, add a can of pureed pumpkin, put in a greased pan (actually, the original recipe was for muffins), and bake at 350°F for 30-35 minutes. That's right, no eggs, no oil. We had no idea how it would turn out.

Remarkably, since the mixture was so thick, the resultant cake was light and fluffy. Everyone enjoyed it.

I would like to try it with spice cake (and have bought a spice cake mix to do so). I suspect it will come out tasting a lot like pumpkin bread, but hopefully lighter.

James had his IPMS meeting today, and since we had things to do in that direction anyway, we swapped vehicles and while he was nattering on about plastic models, I went to Harry's Farmers Market. We needed nuts—it's not really Thanksgiving without a big bowl of filberts, almonds, walnuts, brazil nuts and pecans—plus vegetables including a cucumber which we had for salad tonight and some baby greens for tomorrow when James is at work. They also have soup bars and hot bars, so I bought some dark-meat turkey, which was providential since we had nothing planned for supper.

I also went to Rowan's, a used media (books, DVDs, VHS, records, CDs) store and found to my dismay that they are going out of business in February. The discount is at 20 percent right now. One less used bookstore, dammit. And this one used to have deals: I could always find the book-club editions of the newest Amelia Peabody mystery a month or so after it came out. I got two WWII books for James, and for me, the companion book to the 1776 miniseries The Adams Chronicles (which apparently is finally coming to DVD next May) and also an anthropology book, The Neanderthal Enigma. Haven't read a good anthropology book in a dog's age.

A nip-in at Big Lots: they had my oatmeal for only $2 box. So I got more. :-)

Then we went out to Merchant's Walk. Good visit, too; found a Christmas present we had been agonizing over (someone rather hard to buy for). James purchased enough to get me the cute stuffed polar bear that Borders is using for advertising this year; its name is "Marshmallow" and I'm wondering if this is just polar bear year or it's playing off the upcoming release of Golden Compass, which features a definitely not cuddly polar bear.

We also stopped at Trader Joe's to get James a supper for tomorrow and me some more popcorn; we found a pumpkin tart which we had part of for dessert. Superb...nice spicy pumpkin in a firm shell, great accompaniment to turkey with cucumber salad.

By the time we were heading home it was twilight. We had the Scary Car Thing, then saw a couple of homes with Christmas lights (one was an illuminated palm tree!) just before we made the last turn for home, and someone in our own neighborhood with the inside of their house decorated.

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Early Thanksgiving
We avoided something very nasty tonight, so this is a very public "thank God!"

James and I were on our way home in my car after a full day. We were turning left onto Sandtown Road when someone came blasting by us at at least fifty miles an hour (this is a two-lane road, speed limit about 35 mph) through a red light. James jerked the steering wheel to the left and the jerk driving was paying attention, because he avoided and missed us by a hairsbreadth and went shooting up Sandtown toward Austell, running another light in the process. Not sure if he was drunk or what; pretty sharp at the wheel if he was inebriated.

Had we been going straight instead of turning left he would have T-boned the car right where I was sitting.

Early Thanksgiving indeed.

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» Friday, November 16, 2007
Friday Fun
• Barnes & Noble: new British Country Living (and when I got home there was my subscription copy of the US edition)
• Michael's: Christmas light tester (maybe we can finally figure out why that other GE string is only half lit)
• JoAnn: floss bobbins and the new copy of "Cross-Stitcher" with a winter sampler
• Bed, Bath and Beyond: more CocoaVia bars and...FINALLY!...food-based mineral oil for the kitchen table; I noticed while cleaning it off after the party Saturday that it was looking quite dry (I've been looking for this for quite a while, so I count this as a major coup)
• Borders: "Country Home" and "Cook's Country," and the Holly Claus color picture edition
• Costco: gas, milk, and shredded cheese...plus lunch: Costco has the best samples. I tried some type of Cinnabon cake, hummus with red pepper flakes, pate on crackers, teriyaki chicken, lobster bisque, crab cakes, turkey breast, French bread with butter, pumpkin-flavored cereal flakes, some type of energy granola bars, and a biscuit with strawberry jam (who needs a restaurant when you've got Costco?)

Came home through Kennesaw Mountain Battlefield Park, which is simply gorgeous with color.

Plus the laundry is 2/3 of the way done, the Thanksgiving decorations are up, and we had a very nice supper at a new place, the Oriental Cafe, that John and Betty were talking about last weekend. Their wonton soup is quite good. I had cashew chicken and brought home enough of the meat for a small lunch on Wednesday.

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» Thursday, November 15, 2007
Blowing Hot, Then Cold
Christmas Book LinkFor two days it was in the 70s and sticky. Then the rain whirled through last night and the temperature dropped like that proverbial rock. It was in the forties when we woke and never got higher than the mid-50s, with the wind blustering about the house, tossing autumn leaves into the air as fast as they could loosen from their branches. Willow and I took a good walk around the neighborhood enjoying the nice cool air that is like a transfusion of energy.

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» Wednesday, November 14, 2007
Thank God! It's Raining!
Don't know how long it will last, but will take all we can get!

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Bother...
...here I am blubbering at the end of "Random Shoes" again...

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Baby, It's Hot Outside
It was a warm, sultry day. There's a cold front approaching from the northwest, but in the meantime it's been in the 70s, sticky and uncomfortable. The heat has set the ladybugs to swarming and they seem to be one and two all over the upper story of the house: at the screen door to the deck, on the kitchen window, flapping about in the bedroom.

I wish the front would go through; I've had a sinus headache all day and no amount of nose spray and pain reliever has helped.

Mildly diverting this afternoon during breaks and after work have been the Five Little Peppers movies which are showing on TCM for the first time. They're pretty much B movie specimens. No attempt was even made to set them in the correct time period, which was the 1880s. About the only thing that is the same is that the children do get the measles and Polly does get a new stove and almost goes blind. Most of the plots seem to include some funny stuff by the younger boys and the children are involved in all sorts of situations even more improbable—getting trapped in a copper mine and in rapids on a river in Oregon—than in the original stories.

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» Monday, November 12, 2007
Enjoying the Fall, But Christmas is Approaching!
It's all being enjoyed in Holiday Harbour.

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» Saturday, November 10, 2007
Confetti Check, Part the Second
We had a great time. We had chicken cacciatore with bread, chips and various dips, fruit, two-bite brownies, and John's pineapple upside down cake, then spent the rest of the evening playing Chronology, which is a great game. Each player gets a card on which is a year and then an event that happened in that year, say 1920 and woman's suffrage in the US. Then a person pulls a card and reads the event only, say the start of the Spanish-American War. The person to that person's left has to say whether it goes before or after their original card (and later on, if between two cards). You go around the table that way. If the person on the left can't answer the question, it goes on to the next person until someone answers correctly. Whomever answers correctly gets the card. First person with ten cards wins. Much fun was had by all.

Oh, forgot to mention I did something very old fashioned today: I bought a watch. I haven't had one since the one my dad bought me in 1985 stopped working. It has Arabic numerals in an interesting cursive font and a moon phases dial and of course a second hand. I don't like the faux alligator patent leather wristband, but that can be taken care of at a later date.

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Confetti Check
It's our anniversary! Seventeen years today!

We celebrated by going to the 20 percent off sale at Books-a-Million. (Hey, this is us. <g> Besides, we couldn't go away as we had planned; I had wanted to go up to Charlotte for the big Christmas sale they have, but Schuyler isn't tame yet.) They had Christmas books and Christmas CDs buy-two-get-one-free, so I got three of each (Guideposts Christmas book, Jeff Guinn's cookbook based on his "Santa" series, and Why Does Santa Wear Red?, and all three Trans-Siberian CDs). I also found a Stony Creek Cross-Stitch issue with some nice patterns, The Original Girls Handy Book, and Susan Conant's newest in paperback, Gaits of Heaven. James got the boys' version of the Handy Book.

We also went to Michael's, Walmart, and had lunch at Longhorn. I had the shrimp and lobster dip as an entré, which may have been a mistake. :-) I'm retasting it now.

Anyway, we're having company so I have to go...

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» Friday, November 09, 2007
That Frosty Feeling
It was quite chilly on Tuesday morning, but yesterday was the capper: we woke to a frosted lawn. However, the temperature is supposed to climb again. They even mentioned 77°F for next Tuesday, which made me choke; the forecast this morning is a little less bleak: low 70s instead. If only it would rain!

Thanksgiving is just around the corner and Christmas waving its flags in the distance. This morning, the big tree was delivered to Rockefeller Center (of course the Today crew was there). Time moves so much more quickly in fall and winter!

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» Tuesday, November 06, 2007
"Gingerbread Weather"
The shades flapped a few times last night, but it wasn't until about five a.m. that the cold front announced its arrival by rattling the bedroom shades and making the bedroom door sway back and forth before it slammed shut, which set off the dog.

I emerged from the garage to an iron-grey cloud covering and enough leaves scattered in the air by the errant wind to remind me of the lines from "A Visit from St. Nicholas":

"...As dry leaves that before the wild hurricane fly,
When they meet with an obstacle, mount to the sky..."
It's so nice to be able to see when driving to work in the morning. The sun rises so much later here—north of New York even during DST the sun is up by 5 a.m—it's pitch dark at 6 a.m. during Daylight Savings except for a few hours around the summer solstice, and it's so tiresome to drive to work in the dark; you feel like you should still be in bed asleep, and on rainy mornings it's a flat nightmare. Overhead the clouds were in ever-changing patterns: like the mottled sides of fish swimming by, or ridged like those photos you see of the Sahara sands after a windstorm, or convoluted like the coiled patterns of paint in water, then finally pushed away by the time I reached the parking lot at work at seven.

It seems the trees have changed overnight; I was bemoaning last week how few of them had started shifting color save for the one red tree in our backyard and its companion next door in the Robinsons' yard and the few yellow leaves elsewhere. Now there are few trees that haven't been touched by autumn's paintbrush and there are amazingly bright patches even in early-morning light: the little maples around the mostly deserted shopping center near Cumberland Mall and what's left of the maples on the other side of the mall, and one huge maple in the apartment complex on the access road that is the last leg of my route to work, glowing nearly pumpkin orange for three quarters of its softball-round growth of branches.

It's supposed to be in the thirties tonight and the temp had already dropped ten degrees from six o'clock, when it was 60°F. Now it's inched up one degree, but isn't supposed to go past 57 (or 63, depending on what weather forecast you listen to). We may have to put the heat on tonight!

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» Monday, November 05, 2007
Rudolph Returns...
...for 31 seconds: check it out in Holiday Harbour.

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Congrats and All That!
Christmas Book LinkJust got a phone call from James' youngest sister, Sabra...she got married today!

[confetti toss, horns toot, whistles blow and all that!]

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Ho-Ho-Ho...
Christmas Book LinkIt's the time of year when things are going in Holiday Harbour, so drop by if you're interested in fall and winter celebrations.

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» Sunday, November 04, 2007
On the Lam(p)
There's nothing funny about putting up light fixtures in Autumn Hollow.

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» Saturday, November 03, 2007
In Between Errands
Ah, well, the grocery shopping always must be finished up and shirts fetched from the cleaner. However, when we were at Kroger getting yogurt, bananas, and shampoo, we found some shrimp on sale, which we bought for supper (it was delicious; we had it with garlic-spiked Smart Balance spread over plain ramen noodles and there is enough for another meal). and also the prettiest drinking glasses in a fall leaf motif for 50 cents each.

We went out to the Merchant's Walk Hallmark store to see the last of the premieres: I bought the mini Angels of Many Lands and the Rudolph and his mother ornament as the last touch for my Rudolph tree. Also bought a chickadee sculpture and a blue Santa bell to bring the amount up to where I could use the coupon for $10 off as well as the coupon for the free Christmas tree cheese dish (the spreader has a light-up Christmas tree bulb for a handle). For buying two ornaments, I also got a free snowman ornament.

We also went to Borders, where I bought Bill Bryson's A Short History of Nearly Everything (which was recommended to me). I am in the middle of reading his Life and Times of the Thunderbolt Kid—every few minutes I have to put it down because I am laughing so hard. Talk about bringing my childhood back! I was especially convulsed when he talked about going into the men's room, locking the door of one stall, crawling underneath to the next, locking the door, crawling underneath to the next, etc. I used to do that in the ladies' room at the bowling alley when I got really bored. And of course now I think what I was crawling in, but people were neater back then and Tom and Ray kept that place neater than a pin. You never saw paper on the floor or blocked sinks and it never smelled the way public bathrooms do now. My mom would have been appalled at his mom, though!

I also found three interesting looking Christmas books on the remainder rack: Cornelia Funke's book from last Christmas, Merry Kitschmas about tacky decorations, and a British book of Christmas stories and poems.

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» Friday, November 02, 2007
Cruisin' to Christmas Music...
...and other Friday fun in Holiday Harbour.

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» Thursday, November 01, 2007
Yes, Christmas Videos Already...
...in Holiday Harbour.

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