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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» Monday, December 31, 2007
What's Serendipity?
Serendipity is walking into a second store after having found items at half price in a previous store and hoping the second store will have something good—and finding a gift that is so perfect for a friend that it almost screams the name...and it's half price in the bargain!

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Town of Cochrane Mural Mosaic
Wow, check THIS out. Each tile in this mosaic is its own individual picture. There are two others below it that are made the same way.

Thanks to Melody of "Christmas to the Max" for passing this on!

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"Then One Foggy New Year's Eve..."
Technically untrue, since it won't be New Year's Eve until sunset or 6 p.m., whatever designation of evening you prefer—it was still what I've always called "New Year's Eve Eve" when I set out to work this morning. Outside was a pea-soup fog (or peanut butter if you're Yukon Cornelius, LOL) that even Rudolph the red-nosed reindeer would have had trouble navigating. Luckily the roads were almost deserted; I didn't see another car till I was more than a mile from home, and then they appeared like ghostly foxfire out of the misty depths. Getting on the freeway was particularly "interesting" because there were no lights on that particular stretch and the ramp descended into impenetrable Stygian mist. Was there even a road down there or was this an intro to a John Carpenter film?

The air is still full of floating cotton wool even as we approach late morning; the building across the way looks like a Monet painting.

We are being "let loose" 59 minutes early for our New Year's Eve safety, but I'm taking an additional two hours from our bonus credit time gift. I still have to bring a box of books/DVDs/tapes to the library to get donation credit for this year's income tax and I also need to grab something to take to Bill and Caran's, since James had no time to cook anything.

Another year shot to hell...

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» Sunday, December 30, 2007
Fast Away the Old Year Passes...
Christmas Book Link...but we still have some books basking under the glow of the Christmas tree.

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The Bad and the Good
Apparently having pizza for dinner, even without a whopping case of sour stomach, twice in a row does my digestive system no earthly good. I was up between 2 and 4 a.m. and then in the bathroom from 9 to 10:30. We had planned to start out to Warner Robins at nine and ended up leaving at eleven. I was pretty miserable on the trip down, but the welcome at James' mom's house was warm. Our niece Nicki (along with her friend Jackie) was home for Christmas from her new life in Colorado and was leaving later in the afternoon, so we had a nice brunch at home, exchanged gifts, chatted in front of the Christmas tree, and met Sabra's new husband, Jason.

We bought Nicki a LilKinz lion and she was delighted, because she had owned a similar stuffed animal that she had lost awhile back. We minimally showed her the ropes and Jackie now wants one as well.

Left about 5:30; stuck in stop-and-go traffic caused by flashing police lights several times. Home at 7:30 after a short stop at the Books-a-Million in Jonesboro.

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» Saturday, December 29, 2007
Gallivanting and Gaming
Not much gallivanting, really: just to BJs for milk and the usual supplies. Quite a collection of samples today, but they'll have to go far to beat Costco's collection. I picked up the third season of Wild Wild West while I was at it.

Then home for a bit and off for the Lawsons for game night and a belated gift exchange. We had pizza and Pizza Hut actually fixed me a bacon/black olive/no cheese. The guys apparently talked neep/politics/whatever, and we ladies played Chronology (which Ken played for a while), Finish It [name? game where you finish a well-known quote, song lyric, proverb, etc.], and Imagin-iff.

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» Thursday, December 27, 2007
Sleep, Scrub and Stare
Finally got the good sleep-in that I had been wanting, then went to tackle the nasty job: a good scrub of the shower compartment and later the bathroom counters. I've been giving this a lick and a promise between work, Christmas prep, and just wanting to enjoy the holiday, but, water shortage or no water shortage, it had to be done: it was looking pretty gross. I used as little water as I could on the shower stall, mostly for rinsing, but I had to get my sink drain unclogged. We have dual sinks and mine tends to clog faster than James'. I had the baking soda, had bought the white vinegar, and even boiled water for this go-around, but it simply had to take some running water, too.

In between the shower stall scrub and the counter/sink thing, I watched Ice Station Zebra, which I had never seen before. Tidy little thriller, but I don't think I will care for repeat viewings like I do Hunt for Red October. I was surprised at how sketchily drawn Jim Brown's hard-nosed Marine character was; supposedly you were supposed to suspect him of being a spy, but he was so 2D it was like watching a paper doll. Patrick McGoohan, as always, was watchable, but it all is pretty much by the numbers.

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» Wednesday, December 26, 2007
I Only Went Out for a Car Registration and Potassium Gluconate...
I bet you know how this comes out!

I really wanted to sleep in, but was up just after James left. After renewing the car registrations online (see December 3 and 8 entries), we had only gotten one registration renewal back. It came so quickly we thought it was James' and it had been left unopened on his desk, then I wondered if both were in the same envelope. It turned out it was his that was missing in action, so I had to call up the DMV to find out what happened. Apparently the postman misdelivered it; the person who received it wrote "not here" on the envelope and sent it back. So I had to go all the way out to the office on South Cobb to pick up a new one. The line wasn't out the door like normal and I wasn't in there but five minutes, but...I hope it wasn't someone close by too lazy to stick it in our mailbox, because I sure would have done it for them.

Since I was heading in that direction anyway, I went to MicroCenter, too late for the laptop they had on sale early this morning for $300 (I saw it; cheap-looking thing). Saw the cutest little Asus...what would you call them? Even smaller than a notebook computer; keyboard almost too small even for my tiny hands. Did get a book about WindowsXP digital media processing. There is a Hallmark a few yards away, so I went in and bought a couple of the snowman ornaments for a winter display, an adorable roly-poly Santa that holds a cheese spreader (the handle is his red cap), and the Hallmark collectors' ornaments book, which was marked down to $4.

I brought this all home to see what I had bought so far in the Winter Park and Snowmen collection, then decided to go to BJs. I had seen a DVD set there that I wanted to get for James for Valentines Day if one was still available. It was. I then stopped at Kohl's, knowing they had Hallmark and Carleton things on sale. I didn't find what I wanted of those, but they had winter things, snowman bowls and things, not in red and green. It is so hard to find plain winter decorations; it's as if winter stops at Christmas. As the folks in New England, upstate New York, the Midwest, and Canada will attest, this is just not true. :-) I also found two Christmas village figure sets: one of a father and son with packages (for outside the Woolworths) and a set of random dogs and cats. I wanted a dog moving, "running to meet" his master coming home from the war (the soldier greeting his girl), and this was one of the figures in the set. The other assorted cats and dogs I scattered about the village when I got home.

I also bought two very nice gifts for next year that ordinarily I would not have been able to afford. Tick, VG!

Finally I got to Walgreens for some potassium (I had slightly low potassium the last time I went to the doctor, so I try to remember to take a tablet every day, but I had run out of the stuff) and also emerged with something James needed for the car, and some things at half price: five reels of tinsel cord (never know when they'll come in handy for a craft project) and four boxes of tinsel. Walgreens was a veritable hive of activity; Christmas things being moved out of the way making way for Valentines Day things (Michaels jumped the gun on everyone and had some Valentine things out over a week ago).

I figured this would be the best day for shopping anyway and it was good for a walk, so headed for Cumberland Mall. Bought a couple more ornaments at Hallmark, including the Enterprise bridge for James, then walked down to Carleton, but was tired by then and didn't buy anything. I did find something nice for myself on the bargain shelf at Waldenbooks, and also another Christmas gift for next year. Total three future gifts and one Valentines Day present. Very nice!

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» Tuesday, December 25, 2007
Merry Christmas 2007

Follow our Christmas "adventure" here: Holiday Harbour.

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Christmas Photos! Get Your Nice New Christmas Photos!
Wander over to Autumn Hollow.

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» Sunday, December 23, 2007
Theatre and Turkey, O My!...
...all on the eve of Christmas Eve in Holiday Harbour.

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And More Books
Christmas Book Link

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» Saturday, December 22, 2007
Morning Headaches and Evening Christmas Joy...
...in Holiday Harbour.

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» Friday, December 21, 2007
Why Looking Up at Walgreen's is Good...
...and other Christmas tales in Holiday Harbour.

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The Longest Day
It was actually the shortest day, nature-wise, but not around here. Since I'm off all next week, I wanted to finish as many orders as I could. Two of my new ones had come ready to go, and some had just "fallen into place," so I got six done today, plus a no-cost extension modification, and two payment authorizations, plus more e-mails than I'd care to discuss! :-) I thought I could get a seventh order done, but it didn't have a line item for shipping and we can't do that.

I realize that I'm really not taking much time off as it seems: only two days, and at least one of those would be use-or-lose by the end of the payment year. Tuesday is a holiday, Friday my regular compressed schedule Friday off, and G.W. nicely gave us Monday off. (New Year's Eve would be too much to hope for; however, I have four hours credit time that was given to us as a performance bonus at the end of fiscal year. I can take that if I feel the need for a nap before Bill and Caran's big New Year's Eve blast.)

During lunch I made the spare room fit for company again; it's been all "up in a heaval" since I started with cards and gifts after Thanksgiving. All the spare tissue paper is bagged again, thank God, and while the regular gift wrap container is already tidied, the closet is still waiting for the Christmas gift wrapping container (we still have a couple of gifts to wrap). Most of them are under the tree, a delightful spread—I love giving gifts. I found some dandy ones this year for various folks. Hope they like them! James' gifts to me and vice versa are also in place, plus the nice things that Emma sent.

Plus the towels are washed and the kitchen swept, the dog walked and the mail collected.

Me, I need a nap!

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» Wednesday, December 19, 2007
Working Lunch
Christmas Book LinkFirst those library book reviews, linked at right.

Ate a hasty lunch and then commenced to wrapping gifts, James' first to add a little interest to the tree, and then just kept going. It's about half done.

It's cloudy and 50°F out, just perfect for a walk, but I have used up my lunch hour on holiday frippery. Perhaps I will nip out in a bit for a few minutes to give Willow and I a treat.

(And O frabjous day, I have found the pine-scented sachet which I thought I did not buy at JoAnn. Since we can't have a real tree I wanted it for a touch of evergreen scent under the tree.)

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Always Reading
Christmas Book LinkA multiple book extravaganza—click link at right.

The library books have been saved for another post.

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» Monday, December 17, 2007
The Sad and Sober Part
We have had bad news here at work on two quarters. One bit of news was that a co-worker's mother had died. This had been expected, however; she was in her 80s and had not been doing well. Nevertheless, she was a gritty lady who hung on through many crises.

The other news was more shocking: Carla, the lady who worked in the office across from me, passed away on Saturday. Carla had gone in the hospital last week with a blood pressure problem, but every time we asked after her or our supervisior talked to her, she was ready to come back to work. Carla has been ill with lupus for some years, but did not allow it to keep her down, and had even been talking about coming to our branch Christmas party tomorrow night. She would always ask me if she had a small purchase problem and often we swapped "clueless persons" stories.

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» Sunday, December 16, 2007
Advent Activities
We actually had a quiet Sunday today: breakfast followed by a trip to BJs to get some beef and the usual milk. Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix was out as well, as well as the new Disney Treasures sets. I wasn't much interested in Oswald the Lucky Rabbit or Donald Duck, but I did get the long awaited Disneyland documentary, one that has been on hold for two years.

We also went to BJ's with 40 percent off coupons in our hot little hands. With a combination of Borders Bucks and Rewards coupons, we each got a Windows XP manual for much less than the list price. I think we're set up for reference books now.

Spent a quiet remainder of the afternoon, then went to the food tasting event they had at Trader Joe's. They had a cheese and cracker sample, some different juices, and some candy and cookies. A small sample of each sufficed, and we bought Christmas Eve dinner (shrimp, which can be served with a garlic and margarine sauce and some pasta, plus a small peppermint cheesecake) and more of their chicken-apple sausage.

It's so hard to believe it wa sin the 70s and sultry last week, since today it didn't even get out of the 30s. James fixed what was the last of our homemade turkey soup with egg noodles and we watched A Christmas Story and the two M*A*S*H Christmas episodes, "Dear Dad" and "Dear Sis."

P.S. It is 31°F, with a wind chill of 23. The low is expected to be 23. Terminally frigid for around here!

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» Saturday, December 15, 2007
Rainy Saturday
Six entire hours of rain, but not as hard as we would have liked. We only got half an inch of rain, while areas to the south that didn't need the water as much got an inch to an inch and a half. It left the day gloomy, but there was good company in the first half, as it was "Hair Day." Phyllis made the lunch centerpiece, barbecue lamb. We supplied the yellow rice and Lin and Ron made a sweet potato salad (quite delicious!), and two bowls of the Rutledges chili dip vanished in a trice.

We did a couple of errands on the way home, then James went to a Christmas party with his hobby shop friends. I was invited, but decided to bake cookies instead. I discovered, however, that we were quite out of baking powder, so I had to run to Food Depot first. Plus I needed gas, so there was a trip to Costco, and since I was out that way anyway, a stop at Barnes & Noble, where I finally found the December issue of the British Country Living. (As I checked out the magazine counter a rumble was heard, then a flash of lightning; we had quite a short but creditable thunderstorm.) I also had my Borders coupon with me and managed to find a $4.99 book; since I had $5 in Borders Bucks, I not only got the book for free but have a dollar left over as well.

And then finally I got to baking cookies, but that sent me back in time: hope you enjoy the trip in Holiday Harbour.

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"The Tales of Beedle the Bard"
Take a peek at the hand-written and illustrated volume of The Fairy Tales of J.K. Rowling that was auctioned off for charity! Amazon bought the copy, bound in leather and ornamented in sterling silver and moonstones.

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» Friday, December 14, 2007
Gimp
The arthritis in my shoulders seemed to have a field day today, so I have not gotten as much accomplished as I wanted. The laundry is done at least, and I did manage to do my errand at Lowe's.

I found press-on gold letters at Hobby Lobby for the hobby shop in the village, a font reminiscent of the old Woolworth's font. But James had named it the "A-Z" hobby shop and I discovered after I started applying the letters that they only give you one "Z." Too funny. So we'll have to go back to Hobby Lobby. Ow! Twist my arm!

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» Thursday, December 13, 2007
Drip
We have had what amounted to a five-minute rainshower. It may have been shorter. I think it's over because the little chickadees are now chortling "Dee-dee-dee!" at the feeder.

However, the air has turned colder, which means the cold front is on its way. I have the windows open with the fans on for now. High Tuesday: a record 77°F! Projected high on Sunday: 45°F!

To quote Harry Hoo: "Amazing!"

In the meantime I spent my lunch hour working on revising another village house. We've had it up for the past couple of days in its original form, a drugstore, but James wants to turn it into a hobby shop. So I have painted out the drugstore signs in hope of finding plain Arial/Verdana type rub-on letters in white. It strikes me I may be being too optimistic on that; I haven't had much success with rub-on letters of late, but I don't feel confident enough to turn in a job like that freehand. I painted the mailbox from the modern blue to the old-fashioned red and glued the old "express rider" post office logo on it.

At the hobby shop on Tuesday, James found a set of miniature WWII posters suitable for dioramas and dollhouses, so I have fastened some of those up on the hobby shop windows (also on a couple of the other buildings), plus a sign that says "Aircraft Spotter Cards Have Arrived" and a blood drive poster. James also found some 48-star flag images, and I have affixed them hanging down in front of several buildings.

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Half Past Advent
There is a small flotilla of little birds swooping in and out of the feeder right now: two white-breasted nuthatches, one brown-headed one, a couple of chickadees, a sparrow, the female downy woodpecker (she doesn't have the red spot on the back of her head), and even a lone pine siskin. I haven't seen such action in a while. (Also a bird I couldn't identify from my bird book: small, pale brown, with strikingly patterned white-on-black wings; I didn't get a good look at the beak, but the closest the color came to was a female goldfinch.) The larger white-breasted nuthatch still scatters seed wildly as it eats. Not a tufted titmouse to be seen. I love their big eyes!

I can't believe it is "Santa Lucia" already; the last few months have gone by like the wind. Today is supposed to be the last of the unseasonable high temps, and we are hoping to get some rain out of it, but not as much as they hoped, as always: it's like someone has placed an invisible wall south of Chattanooga outside of which not much rain will penetrate. It was quite cloudy this morning, and James reported a brilliant rust-colored sunrise; the outdoor Christmas lights, set from dusk to dawn, didn't go out until almost 8 a.m. Now the sun is straggling out again. The warm front has been horrible, with temps in the high 70s, sultry and sullen (although I know the folks in the Midwest without power would gratefully trade! no one in their right mind likes ice storms).

XP is in-house, since I picked it up yesterday during lunch. I need to finish checking over my entire computer, gleaning passwords and making sure of activation numbers so I can have my own new hard drive installed. James bought a program that will transfer everything from the old hard drive to the new, which is fine for the stuff I have in storage, but I want a new format and install for everything else. I know it's a pain in the neck, but since the Win98 crash on Memorial Day, half of the programs do not work, or send odd messages when they boot up, and my virtual E: drive is clogged up with files that Windows doesn't see, but show up in defrag (I suspect they are backup files from the Win2000 load).

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» Tuesday, December 11, 2007
Christmas Tree, 1; Computer, 0
I put up our tree last night. I didn't rush and it took about five and a half hours (or maybe it was more like six). We have lots of ornaments and every inch of the tree is covered (except the back portion that faces the wall and the room divider since here's really no reason to put ornaments back there).

I did, however, put tinsel back there, as it ruins the look of the tree if you don't do the whole thing. By eleven my back was aching and it was hard to move, but James had safely slid the tree into its corner, the rug was vacuumed of fallen artificial "needles" and I was setting up the manger scene under swaths of trembling icicles (since it was so warm we had the air conditioner on).

James, unfortunately, was having less success with his computer; this continued into this morning. There was a minor hardware bobble, but then the new motherboard/processor installed properly, and he was trying to partition the new hard disk (320GB)/load Windows 2000. While I was enjoying a day off for my birthday by having a late sleep, doing my dailies in Webkinz, reading the comics, etc. he was wrestling with it. He continued to wrestle when we got home. The fool thing won't load. It says he is missing "NT Detect." He also got another an error message, five digits beginning with a 3 (37564? something like that); I did a search for it online and came up with various reasons for the error ranging from bad hardware to a dirty installation disk!

I finally said, "Look, the old hard drive works, right? Put that back in and research your problem and then go back and install when you can work with it."

He did that. Now he has no sound card and Windows 2000 keeps asking him to install a file from Service Pack 4...which is already installed!

Screw it. I'm going to buy two copies of Windows XP. I've had Win2000 since May and it's been nothing but a pain in the ass. Win98 worked better, even if it wouldn't run TurboTax. (Maybe if I get XP, WordPerfect 7 will load again. WP9 is okay, but I bought it only because it does PDF files. WP7 was comfy like an old shoe.)

Despite the computer being a complete b**** it was a nice "bird-day": besides the nice late sleep, I put up the boxes for the Christmas stuff, put up a few last decorations, including a cute little display next to "Missie Skye's" cage, got everything vacuumed—the disorder was driving me nuts!—and then we went out for lunch at Longhorn. Stopped at Trader Joe's and Hallmark, visited the hobby shop, and came home.

Off to read a library book. (I went to the library just to use the bathroom; I came out with three books!)

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» Monday, December 10, 2007
Detours on the Road to Christmas
For the last two months, James has had some problems powering up his computer. The switch in front would not work and he would have to use the main one in the rear. Sometimes he had to turn the power on two and three times before it "caught." He bought a new power supply late in October, but between working two weekends in November, DIY, and other things, had not installed it. He took to leaving the computer on all the time since it was such a bear to start.

Friday night he came home and found the computer off; he hadn't turned it off. Since we had to get to bed early because he had to work Saturday, he just did a couple of things on my computer and then left it.

Saturday night we went out for supper at Sweet Tomatoes, stopped at Hobbytown for a couple of more "ornaments" for the library tree (I'd put it up during the day and still found the literary figures a bit skimpy) and JoAnn (had coupons; mostly bought Christmas light hooks), and then came home. James pulled the computer out, opened it up, installed the new power supply.

Nothing.

Now this had happened before when he bought his new motherboard/processor nearly two years ago; the power supply he had didn't work. He couldn't return the power supply because it was over 30 days old, and now he wouldn't be able to work on the computer for a while. We still didn't have the Christmas tree up and we were planning to go to Stone Mountain yesterday for the Atlanta Radio Theatre Company's annual performance of "An Atlanta Christmas" at the "Fruitcake Festival" (or at least that's what Stone Mountain has called the performance in the past), with a stop at the Colonnade beforehand for an early birthday dinner.

I woke up Sunday (a) knowing he was miserable without his computer and (b) still feeling godawful. On Thursday he had to stop at Publix on the way home to get chili fixings for a cook-off at work, since his chili had made the finals, so he brought home a rotisserie chicken for supper. The chicken tasted great but my digestion has been a wreck ever since. Sunday morning when I got up, I took my Prilosec and ate only a bowl of oatmeal and a cup of mandarin oranges and was immediately sick to my stomach.

So I suggested we go see ARTC at the Stage Door Players in two weeks and run to MicroCenter instead to get a new power supply. So that we did, and we also ran down to Ikea (and I mean "ran"; we just drove there, didn't even go upstairs, went directly to the bin we needed, and did self-checkout) for the side table that had been out of stock last weekend, got milk and samples at Costco, and went to Michael's for a few more ornaments for the library tree (take the library tree challenge). When we got home, he eagerly installed the new power supply.

Nothing happened.

Of course this meant the only other thing it could be was that the not-even-two-year-old motherboard was fried. To get his computer going anytime before next weekend we would have to sacrifice our day out on my birthday to go up to Fry's.

Which explains why we were driving to Fry's at five thirty last night. We had supper at their cafe—a very insipid and thick clam chowder was all I could manage—and then James, armed with the instruction book for his old unit in the forlorn hope he could get a new motherboard with the same processor and memory type, went to that department. Forlorn hope indeed since I think they change the formats every two weeks; not only was there nothing matching, but he even had to get a new video card because the new motherboards don't use AGP any longer, but something called PCI Express.

We got home about nine. I did get the divider between the living room and the foyer cleared and decorated, and we did get the space cleared for the Christmas tree (the rocker has to go into the spare room) and he brought the tree and the box with the ornaments upstairs, and we also put together the new side table. This is four inches narrower than the old one, but a little longer, with more storage space underneath for his magazines, Willow's brush, any books or model kits he wants to look at. It should give us a little more space after Christmas as well when the rocking chair is back where it belongs.

We put Mom's old end table in the bedroom for now, but it's too big for the space; as I predicted, I barked my leg on it in the dark this morning. I've never been overly fond of those end tables (the only furniture I was really attached to in the house was the tier table and the horse lamp and those are in the foyer); we might fit them in the library, but since they're still in great shape it's more likely they're headed for donation unless someone wants them.

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» Saturday, December 08, 2007
Relief
Except from the heat. It's 73°F. Note to the Midwest: I would send it to you if I could.

I had to go to Hallmark to find Hanukkah cards, but they are on their way, if very late. Car is inspected, registration renewal applied for. So that's done.

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» Friday, December 07, 2007
A Tale of Three Lunches
My three telework days have been busy if not always productive workwise, since I run into continual roadblocks. One order I could have done today was stopped dead when I noticed a small-print notation about shipping fees. We are required to have a line item for shipping; we can't let them prepay and add. So I called the company who had quoted, but did not hear back from them.

Wednesday I managed to have my walk, watch Rick Steves Europe, and even put up a few Christmas decorations. Yesterday and today, however, were a flurry of finishing up the Christmas cards. I've had them out since Thanksgiving, had started them, then the signal dropped out, so to speak. :-) At least the letter was done; I had put it together to send out with the packages I sent last weekend. Yesterday I watched Rick Steves European Christmas while writing out the cards, and today I finished them, scribbled personal notes on each of the 12 letters, stamped, labeled, and sealed all of them, then bundled everything in the car and drove to the post awful so they would be picked up at 5:30. This meant I had to work until six, but them's the breaks.

We forgot to get Hanukkah cards last weekend, so I stopped at a couple of places looking for them since I had the labels, stamps, and pen to sign them with me. I didn't expect Dollar General to have them (they didn't last year), but I was totally flummoxed when CVS didn't have any either. Hanukkah's not over until Tuesday; they can't possibly be gone yet, can they?

Yesterday was the oddest of the days: the Hispanic family across the street, who rent the house, are apparently moving—the house was for sale and now look as if it's sold—and are using a school bus sans seats to move their things. I wondered what the racket was and it turned out they were using our driveway to back into theirs.

I had done about half the cards yesterday and really wanted to walk, so clipped on Willow's leash and off we went—until we were about halfway up the street and she heard the men talking very loudly in Spanish. She turned tail the way she does with strange dogs and I could barely get her to walk half the street. When I walked past to do the bottom half, she dug in and refused to go any further and dragged me back to the house even though she was half-choking herself.

Wednesday we at least got through the entire walk; I was thinking of going around at least halfway again, but Ruth was outside with the three pugs and of course Jenny the busybody came hurrying across the street, followed by Thomas, with Zoey pulling behind on her leash. Willow got all bristled up and pulled me back toward the house "toot sweet."

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Today's Pearl Harbor Memorials
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» Wednesday, December 05, 2007
The Weather Seesaw
Yesterday morning it was down into the 20s, and I finally wore a coat.

The weather report says that it's going to be in the 70s beginning of next week. Arrgh! Wish I could send the weather to the Midwest, Northeast and especially up in the Northwest where they really need a break. Usually I am hoping that the Weather Channel prediction comes true rather than the weather report on WXIA. This time it's the other way around, as WXIA only has it in the high 60s. At home on Sunday, it won't be so bad; we can open the windows. Not so in Cubicle-Land on Monday.

I wish we could take a little of the slack from Oregon and Washington; here we need the rain badly. I'm praying for the best for them.

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» Tuesday, December 04, 2007
Blue Star Home
James figured since he wouldn't have time to put up the lights during the daytime until Sunday, he could put them up tonight. So we've been outside for the last hour stringing things up. The falling stars are actually purple, but they look blue enough in this shot, and from a distance look blue as well.

I had completely forgotten that we had bought the white stars along the sidewalk until James brought them out. They twinkle!

Christmas lights 2007

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» Monday, December 03, 2007
Trafficking in Frustration
The cold front came through last night, whipping the shades up and sending the dog in a frenzy of barking. When I woke up I was spoiling for a migraine, so I took something for it, went back to bed until seven, then started to work. I checked the traffic report before I left, but there was just the usual problems on I-285 east, nothing on I-75 South/I-85 North, the way I usually go.

However, twenty minutes later when I reached the freeway, there was Trouble in River City. Traffic was already clotting up and I saw a rescue squad in the distance. Must be an accident at Paces Ferry. Nuts. The radio traffic report wasn't saying anything about it. However, I was already abreast the exit for Mt. Paran Road when the next traffic sign reported that the accident was four miles ahead. No one would let me get over, so I inched, in the company of hundreds of fuming commuters, down to the next exit, two miles away. This took a half hour. However, I was able to get off at Paces Ferry and go down Northside Drive, which would eventually intersect with the freeway past the accident. By then the sun was full in my eyes and I couldn't see the southbound exit signs, passed the exit and had to turn around and come back. Gah. (By the time I exited at Paces Ferry, the traffic report had not only picked up the accident, but was saying that the backup went all the way to Wade Green Road, over ten miles away, and that the approximate commute time was seventy minutes. Yow!)

Tonight there was a massive accident on I-285 Eastbound at Chamblee-Dunwoody. Same situation as this morning, three left lanes blocked. I thought about this morning as I made my way westbound, which was clotted as usual at Roswell Road and then at Northside Drive, but nothing unusual.

It took me 35 minutes to get the twenty miles from work to the International Farmer's Market on Spring Road.

It took me 35 more minutes to make it the remainder of the four miles home. Thirty of that was inching up to the intersection on Atlanta Road. From the top of the bridge I could see flashing red lights and some blue lights all the way down Atlanta Road going toward Windy Hill. I have no idea what was wrong, but after I crossed the bridge I distinctly got a quick whiff of natural gas. I wonder if the construction crew digging up the old shopping center for the new Jonquil Plaza broke a gas line? I sat there waiting at the light hoping something wouldn't explode while we were all sitting there trapped.

To top it off, I went downstairs to get the wreath for the front door and plugged it in. Nothing. Will you tell me how a string of lights that worked perfectly for a month last year and which was working perfectly well on January 6 and was then stored in an indoor, climate-controlled closet downstairs suddenly dies when plugged in eleven months later? Okay, so I had this light tester I bought from Michael's...cool! Well, until I discovered you still had to pull the stupid bulbs out to test them. What's the use in that?

It made no difference. According to the tester, we've got at least three bad bulbs and I have one, count 'em, one replacement.

Well, here's something I can do: sit down and renew the car registrations online.

Almost. I renewed James'. I couldn't do mine because I'd forgotten my car is three years old this year. It has to be inspected from now on. So I guess while James is at work on Saturday, I'll be getting the car inspected.

I was even disappointed in a small thing: I was discussing with friends that although James had to work Saturday, it turned out his compensatory day off was Tuesday, my birthday, which I was taking off, and he was taking me out to eat at the Colonnade, which has the absolutely best turkey and dressing in the entire world. (You can keep your prime rib; I'll take the t&d at the Colonnade any day.) Except the Colonnade isn't open for lunch during the week anymore. ::sigh::

Maybe on Sunday? she asked hopefully.

As Robert Hayes says in Airplane... :-)

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» Sunday, December 02, 2007
We See Someone Famous...
...and other surprises and fun at the Marietta Christmas Tour of Homes in Holiday Harbour.

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» Saturday, December 01, 2007
"What's That? I Don't Like It!"
Schuyler's giving her new toy a really fishy stare.

At least she's on the same perch with it. This afternoon she wouldn't even sit on that one, except to eat.

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Visions of Gingerbread
We decided to do the Tour of Homes tomorrow, so we had to get most of our chores done today. Thus it was off to Costco before noon for gasoline for the truck, then milk and other necessities of life. James bought me a Christmas or birthday gift, and we had lunch by noshing on all the samples. The lobster spread was on sample today; yay.

Since it was cool, we just put the milk and eggs into insulated bags and went on our way, first to PetsMart and then Michael's. I wanted to buy Schuyler something she could chew on, since she has gnawed the center of her smaller swing down to lollypop stick-diameter in the middle. I also bought a new bar for the swing, a natural perch to see if I can tame her to stand on the perch since she's frightened of my hand, and some seed. We also got Willow a Christmas collar in place of the usual bandanna and some treats for Christmas. The place was full of dogs today: one man had a male and female Yorkie on leashes and their two puppies in a carrier. They turned a corner and found a Westie lunging at them. The male Yorkie lunged right back, yapping canine imprecations at him. We also saw a woman with a tiny warm-brown cocker spaniel puppy that she had just picked up. I exclaimed "Oh, she's the color of gingerbread! How perfect!" I think I may have given them an idea for a name!

On to the hobby shop and then to Lowe's for a board to place on the mantel. Since I bought the Woolworth building, the village will not fit on the existing space. We bought a melamine-coated board instead of just a piece of lumber that would have required painting and had it cut to the correct length. Now we just need to paint the two edges and I can letter something appropriately festive on the front.

We came home with out loot, walked the dog and fiddled about with the computer, then went to Ikea for supper. I have been having the chicken marsala instead of the meatballs, but they had none tonight, so instead I had the salmon with apple glaze, which came with plain potatoes and baby carrots. It was quite good. (It still came up on me, but that's normal. ::sigh::)

We were there because (a) I needed an extra shelf for a bookcase downstairs and (b) have been wanting to get James a better night table (he's been using one of my mom's old end tables) and a better side table next to his chair in the living room (where we're using the other end table). The latter was out of stock, but we got the former, and the shelf.

This is also the time of year when the gingerbread hearts appear. In Sweden it is traditional to decorate trees with gingerbread hearts tied with red ribbon. In the American South this can often bring you tiny six-legged visitors. They are better to eat, very gingery but light; two are a perfect small snack to cure a sweet tooth and if I have an upset stomach I often eat one or two since ginger is a natural digestive aid. I used to find them in discount stores or Linens'n'Things, where I would buy them up after Christmas on discount, but Ikea has them in big boxes of 74 cookies. Last year I bought two and they lasted until June, so I got four boxes. A good thing we went, too, since they only had seven boxes left upstairs and none in the Swedish shop near checkout.

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