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, January 31, 2008
The Brave Little Nuthatch
I noticed the birds pecking disconsolately at the top level of the feeder, which was empty, and went outside to refill it before the rain starts this afternoon. One bold little brown-headed nuthatch sat on the feeder mount and watched me nearly the entire time. Only when I actually whistled at him did he fly away, and then he almost immediately returned, looking nervous but curious as well.

There were, about a half hour ago, three female bluebirds and a male either at the suet or browsing the seed that has been strewn about by the other birds. We had 40 percent-off-one-book coupons at Borders for Tuesday and Wednesday, so went last night. The one hardback I am waiting for is not out yet, so I took the opportunity to buy the book about the Dust Bowl, The Worst Hard Time, but I needed "makeweight," since I had to do a $20 purchase and the book was only $15.00. I found a remainder book, Stokes' Bird Feeder Book, that filled the bill perfectly for only $5.00. I didn't think I could learn anything else from another bird book, but I did: house sparrows are really weaver finches! Anyway, this book doesn't mention at least three birds that turn up regularly at our feeder: the aforementioned bluebirds, the pine warblers, and the Carolina wren, but it's just supposed to be a general beginner book anyway.

But I would have liked some bluebird photos—and "the brave little nuthatch," the brown-headed one, is also not mentioned.

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» Wednesday, January 30, 2008
Running Hot and Cold
Another bout of seesaw weather: Monday and Tuesday the highs were in the low 60s, very balmy, like spring. Last night a wall of rain came through, leaving, alas, minimal rain because the storm was going so fast, with cool weather on its heels. Temps today will be in the mid forties, and that's through the rest of the week, then a warm front will sweep in over the weekend, up to a predicted high (right now) of 67°F on Tuesday—then whap down into the forties again. It's like surfing on temperatures, dude.

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» Monday, January 28, 2008
Magnificence, Music, Melancholy and Memories
On the way home I was treated to the most beautiful display of mackerel clouds I've ever seen. We have a rain front moving in and the rippling grey-and-white clouds moving across the sky covered the entire expanse in an ever-changing landscape. The ripple effect was very pronounced around the cloud-shadowed sun, with narrow bands that looked almost like cloud versions of mini-blinds. If I hadn't been barreling down the freeway I would have called James and seen if he had the opportunity to look out the window. It was that striking.

I had "Escape" (XM78) on for the first time since Christmas; I've been very reluctant to go back to mainstream music in the wake of the holidays. Every year my post-Yuletide blues seem to lengthen. I really do miss the music; I have so many instrumental Christmas albums that I love.

One of the selections this afternoon was "Rhapsody on a Theme of Paganini," which takes me back to the release of the film Somewhere in Time. I went to see it in Boston with the "gang"—not sure of the theatre anymore; maybe at Pi Alley. Gail was so enthralled with "Rhapsody" that she took note of the composition's name in the credits and after the movie we went downtown to both Strawberries and the Barnes & Noble to see if she could find a copy of a classical album with that theme on it, since the Somewhere in Time soundtrack was somewhere in the future.

I remember the B&N in Boston as being unusual as it wasn't really the big box bookstore like the ones I frequent now. Back then it was more like a remainder store, and also carried records, cassettes, and the new CDs. They had language instructional kits, too, and classic books under their own imprint and lots of Dover books. If you wanted bestsellers you went to Wordsworth and the Coop out in Cambridge.

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Why I Love the Internet
While I was driving to work this morning, two stars were directly in front of me as I headed southeast, a smaller one, and a larger one higher in the sky and to the right. I wondered what they were and typed "+stars +southeast +'January 28, 2008'" into Google. As Snagglepuss always said, "Viola!"
Monday, January 28, 2008
Venus and Jupiter are 4 degrees apart and closing. Watch this week as the two planets pass each other. Jupiter is getting higher and Venus is getting lower each morning. Look to the southeast for the pair of planets.
From the Abrams Planetarium Night Sky Notes site.

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» Sunday, January 27, 2008
Weekends and All That
So we had to go back to Walmart Saturday to get the things I forgot. It was fairly painless.

Then James went off to his monthly club meeting. When he returned we decided to go out to the original Fry's, at Gwinnett Mall. On the way there we stopped at the Aviarium to get a new food dish and swing for Schuyler, and discovered one of our friends working there. Of course I wandered around the bird room talking to the parrots and whistling at the canaries; one of the latter is already a prodigious singer.

By the time we got to Fry's the soup was all gone, so we ended up having a sandwich. I returned the DSL modem we didn't need; James' keyboard had died abruptly in the morning, so he got a new one, with programmable extra buttons. It looked so slick that I bought one myself to replace my $5 keyboard. We also bought what we went there for: a USB case to hold my old 20GB hard drive, which I can now use as a backup drive.

We also stopped at the JoAnn there, but it was pretty pathetic. I thought the one on our side of town was getting minimal, but there were magazines from October on the racks. The Barnes & Noble nearby did not have the new Yankee; I'm unable to find it anywhere anymore.

Set up the keyboard when we got home. It's pretty neat. I have buttons programmed to bring up what I need immediately on mornings I go into work: the Weather Channel and the traffic report. There is also a button to bring up the calculator, which will be fantastic for work, since my desktop is usually buried under the various windows I need.

James was up late doing some research for programs to work on his new gadget, so we didn't get to bed until almost three, although I spent at least an hour dozing on the couch. Needless to say, after that late a night, I was a bit headachy this morning. But James had made biscuits, and then we dropped off the recycling at Publix, dropped by Love Street, then went on to Costco for milk and "lunch" samples. We bought some pineapple teriyaki chicken meatballs for supper.

Later in the afternoon we finally assembled the night table from Ikea. It is about the same size in surface area than the old end table James was using, but the top smaller in area so that the alarm clock and the Kleenex box are rather wedged in and the phone there as an afterthought. There is now a nice neat place for his C-PAP machine on one shelf and space for the books on another, and a drawer to put nail clippers, nose spray, an emergency flashlight, etc.

We watched Nature tonight, of course!: "Parrots in the Land of Oz." They did about fifteen minutes on wild budgies. Oddly, Schuyler, who chirps at all the songbirds in the background on the HGTV shows and Animal Cops Houston, barely noticed all the budgie sounds. Instead she was drawn to the crimson rosellas.

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» Friday, January 25, 2008
Errands Du Jour
Okay. Rebate check in the bank. Library books returned. Stop at Hobby Lobby; everything I could have used a coupon on was already on sale. Minimal Valentine decoration and some clearance cross stitch bits. (Went back later and used coupon on a small Easter decoration.) Final stop: Verizon, where a rescue squad had just loaded someone from the store. They didn't immediately dash off, so hopefully the person was okay.

My phone has been weird the last couple of days: showing no power to the battery. I plug it in to charge and it takes several tries for the charger to click into the receptacle and charge. It charges until the battery is full with four bars. I unplug it and immediately the icon shows empty again, although the phone itself does not beep and shut down like it usually does with low battery power. This happens three times in a row. I leave it with a technician who says she is going to give it a charge and a software upgrade. ???? It will take about an hour.

I go to WalMart; it is now a necessity since even Kroger has quit stocking my two favorite flavors of yogurt and of course they are the only ones who have low carb whole wheat tortillas and one of only two places that have Blue Bunny sugar-free ice cream bars and the only ones who carry the chocolate flavor ones. They are also the only ones now who carry the Carb Countdown chocolate milk James likes for breakfast. He only gets it every couple of weeks, so I feel safe skipping it and just getting more tortillas, low sugar oatmeal, the yogurt and a few other things including clearance flannel sheets with an autumn motif. Fridays are nice; I get right in line and there's no danger of the ice cream melting, but it's not an hour yet, so I bring the ice cream home, have yogurt for part of lunch, and then go back for my phone. She says to be careful plugging it in. And what do you think I have been doing? Anyway, it has four bars on the battery icon now.

Of course when I get home properly I discover there was a need for the chocolate milk. Arrgh.

For lunch I finally had my birthday lunch. Yeah, it's a little late, but I kept forgetting to buy the fixings: Wheat Thins and ricotta cheese. Yep. That's it. Once a year treat. Enough left for a couple more lunches. Let's say with the milk I've had I've done my part today to fight osteoporosis. :-) Watched three Get Smart episodes, including the "'shipper's dream," "99 Loses Control," and am in the middle of the pilot episode of Voyagers! Notice immediately how quickly they reinforce the fact that Phineas Bogg is a ladies' man and not interested in cute little boys. In fact, future episodes had a parade of gals that Bogg lost his head to just so there would be no doubt about the relationship. (But I wager that there's Bogg/Jeffrey slash out there...)

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» Thursday, January 24, 2008
Teeter-Totter Temperatures
Whew! Willow and I found ourselves blown about on our walk; it's only about 40°F out and the wind has an edge to it. Only supposed to be 43 tomorrow—and then WXIA is talking 63 on Tuesday, although Weather Channel's verdict is only 59. What a difference in a few days!

They're anticipating a low of 16 tonight and the birds have been stocking up for it. The red-headed woodpecker has been visiting several times, but I have yet to get a photo since he's always on the watch. He seems to be living in the thicket next to the trailer park behind us. However, the female bluebird and the female house finch have both shown up.

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"Just Let Me Throw A Barrel At It!"
Aieeeeee! Looks like I'll have to buy the new Freakazoid release, if nothing else to get their brilliant spoof of Jonny Quest, drawn in the style of Doug Wildey and even featuring the voice of Dr. Quest, Don Messick.

I don't remember this, but we rarely had a chance to see Freakazoid. Quick, check it out before someone pulls it:

Toby Danger

Tip o' the hat to Jaime Weinman.

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» Wednesday, January 23, 2008
Spreading the Wealth
Book Sale Finder

Tip o' the hat to Rodney.

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» Tuesday, January 22, 2008
In the Cold, Cold, Cold of the Daytime...
Not that I'm complaining, mind you! :-)

The ice they were afraid of never materialized, although it was still cold (it never got over freezing on Sunday) so we were able to go out to Fry's. Our DSL connection had just crashed for the fourth time in three days and I wondered if it were the modem. The old one has a bad "habit" of the connection light staying green even when the modem is not connected. We bought a new one, but James never could get it to work. It turned out we didn't need to, because after being unplugged for 20 minutes, the old one decided to work again.

Although there is a modem already in my computer, we could never get it to work after we upgraded to Win2000. We had a disk that was clearly marked as a driver for the modem, but Windows could never find any drivers for it. So I did buy an adorable USB dial-up modem for emergencies. It looks like a large pencil eraser and set up and worked in less than ten minutes. Wow.

I spent most of the day sick to my stomach; we suspect it was the last of the old turkey soup we ate last night, as James had some problems as well. This carried over into Monday: I had not intended to go out, but wanted to get various housework chores done, read the paper and cut coupons, maybe do some cross-stitch and watch a couple movies. Instead I was miserably in the bathroom a lot of the day. I did get the vacuuming and sweeping done and watching the 1994 Little Women because I had just finished reading Geraldine Brooks' March.

There was still some snow left this morning in areas of high shade, especially under the trees and on lawns that faced east, but rain is forecast by today and soon it will all be gone.

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» Sunday, January 20, 2008
Suzanne Pleshette Dies at 70
This was just on the news.

I always loved Suzanne Pleshette. She played characters with "spunk," even within the societal constraints of the 1960s. She was always bold and bright.

Hr obituary on CNN.com

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» Saturday, January 19, 2008
Snow Kidding
You remember that scene from Crocodile Dundee where the hood has a switchblade and Dundee says blandly, "That's not a knife," and draws out the biggest, nastiest hunting knife you've ever seen and adds, "This is a knife!" I suspect that anyone from Canada, Minnesota or the Dakotas, upstate New York or New England who has seen photos of our snow is saying, dumbfounded, "That's not a snowstorm," instead pointing to three feet of snow in the backyard and adding, "That was a snowstorm!"

For down here, this is a snowstorm (or, by now, was a snowstorm). It's been snowing rather steadily, heavily and then lightly and back again, since about ten this morning. Nothing accumulated on the roads, and the lawns are barely covered; it's not even sticking to the cars anymore in what should be its final, sand-fine form. (It did stick on things like the deck, where it looks like we got not quite an inch.)

The trouble is that the temp is hovering around 34°F right now, enough for the snow just to melt a bit. The roads, the sidewalks, the bridges, are all wet. Tonight the temps are going to plummet into the teens, which means tomorrow Atlanta is going to be one big skating rink. That's been what all the fuss has been about, why the sand trucks are readied and the power trucks are on alert, why there was hour-by-hour coverage on the television and why things were cancelled.

However, we have all our shopping done and should we find it too dangerous to go out tomorrow, we don't need to. We had a jolly time today doing our errands; it was perfect snowball snow and I kept gathering small handfuls off the side of the car and tossing them at James. We stopped at Costco and got a great deal: between their discounted price and a coupon, we bought TurboTax Deluxe for only $20. We went to Borders and had a hot cocoa at the coffee shop and watched the snow. Dani Torres has been talking about a writer named Geraldine Brooks in her blog. The only Geraldine Brooks I know of is the raspy-voiced actress who passed away some time ago—my favorite role of hers: Lou Carson on Faraday and Company—but I noticed the author Brooks had written a novel entitled March, a slightly more adult flip side of Little Women, chronicling Mr. March's experience serving in the Civil War. So I bought that. James found a Christmas issue of Renaissance (where on earth was it at Christmas?) and bought me a copy of one of Susan Wittig Albert's Beatrix Potter mysteries. We also found a small Christmas or birthday gift.

We made a brief stop at Michael's, where I got two more "ornaments" for the library tree next year (a white seal to be Kotick from The Jungle Book and a German Shepherd—take your pick: Flax or Leader the guide dog in Follow My Leader, or whatever) and we picked up another future gift. We then went to the hobby shop, stopped at Love Street, then made our final stop at Kroger to get a new bag of dog food for Willow and all sorts of useful things including 6-grain French bread to go with dinner.

When we got home James pulled out the stock pot and filled it with the turkey carcass the Boulers gave us after Christmas Eve dinner, carrots, celery, and water, and it is now simmering merrily on the back burner, sending a heavenly scent throughout the house.

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» Friday, January 18, 2008
New Bird Pictures
Birdwatching Page

(5:53 p.m. I've added seven more bird photos.)

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» Thursday, January 17, 2008
Birds and More Birds
Yesterday before the snow started I went out to top off the bird feeder. If you've seen the pics, the feeder was one of those that looked like a little house; you took off the peaked top and filled that way. The seed level could be seen through transparent plastic sides.

I set the feeder on the rail carefully and opened the "roof," making sure it was stable, then turned away to open up the seed container. Obviously it was no longer stable because it then did a somersault off the deck rail and landed in the yard. The plastic sides shattered. I tossed it all away.

Keith had given each of us bird feeders and seeds for Christmas. The feeder was a transparent tube, wider at the top than at the bottom, with eight feeding stations, four on top of four. I don't have the paperwork that went with it, so I am unable to find it online. It does not look like this feeder, however, the plastic perches on it are short like the metal ones on the feeder linked. They are also adjustable to several positions, so you can feed cardinals with the perches twisted out to the full position or just the little guys, chickadees and nuthatches, with the perches twisted inward so they are shorter. The perches are thin plastic and anything big, like a crow or a squirrel trying to hang on, will get a rude surprise.

So I put that out instead just before it started snowing. I wondered how long it would take the birds to get use to this one, but I needn't have worried: they have taken to it like those proverbial ducks to water. It looks like Crackerbarrel at dinnertime: chickadees, at least four brown-headed nuthatches, the white breasted nuthatch, pine siskins, tufted titmice, a wren who was singing the most lovely song, even a couple of bluebirds (although they were more comfortable eating the seeds that spilled down to the ground) and a female cardinal. The suet drew the downy woodpeckers, Mr. and Mrs., and even the red-headed and red-breasted woodpeckers. So pretty to watch!

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» Wednesday, January 16, 2008
Hm. It's Still Snowing...
...but rain is creeping up from the south.

Quick, before it's gone:

This was taken at 5 p.m., just as it was beginning to stick:

The snow begins

Snow flies around the porch:

Snow around the porch

Just as twilight fell, I went back out to take this:

Snow at twilight

Used the flash on this one; that's some flash! I took this from the mailbox:

House in a flash

Welcoming you home:

Lights of home

Here's snow flurrying 'round the deck:

Snow on the deck

Portrait in blue; the street at night:

The street at night

Snowscape:

Snowscape

Later. I think it's raining, but from these pics, taken about 8:30, it still looks like snow in the flash. Maybe it's sleet.

Yard in the snow

Yard in the snow

Yard in the snow

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It's Snowing More!
I have photos! I have movies!

It will be gone soon, I'm sure. But it's nice to watch now.

Be careful driving home, everyone.

(Dang...supposedly it's already changing over to rain at Peachtree City.)

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Woohoo! It's Snowing!
And it's not even 32...

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A Wintry Mix?
They always predict this when precipitation approaches in the winter and it's cold enough, but usually all it does is rain. Rain we won't quibble with what with the level of the drought. However, the WXIA newscasts have become steadily more "ominous" in the last three days; they'd gone from saying we might even miss the rain to we are getting the rain to we're possibly getting some sleet. We still don't know, although I noticed the forecast for the North Georgia mountains in places like Blairsville is now "snow."

I used to be able to tell a "snow sky" immediately in Rhode Island. The sky turns a white color, perhaps faintly mottled with pale, pale grey, and the sound changes. Here even when it snows it doesn't do that; there are darker mottles of grey even when it does snow. If I were to judge by the sky right now I might say snow, but while it is snow up there where the clouds lie, by the time it gets down to us it is rain, or at the most sleet or icy rain. I would rather have snow; ice is too treacherous. The thermometer on our deck has struggled up to 39.6°F; much too warm, but...we'll see.

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» Sunday, January 13, 2008
Not Quite Perfect
I'd say it was a useful day, if not exciting at all, except at one point.

We went to WalMart. The lines weren't too bad and we found the small low-carb whole wheat tortillas instead of the huge ones. I also found a pair of flip-flop slippers in my size that were blue instead of pink (they're always pink! I despise pink!).

We went to BJs. Since we'd done the herculean after-Christmas cleaning and survived, we bought some lobster ravioli for supper. Excellent stuff, and we have another portion that I think we'll save for Valentines Day.

We made a short stop at Kroger and couldn't find what we wanted, which was how we ended up at WalMart.

We found out the wi-fi on the Gadget works fine.

We finished the afternoon off reading the paper.

No, the "exciting" part came at the beginning of the day. We'd been planning on Sweet Tomatoes for breakfast, but since all our errands were in the Smyrna area we just ate at the Waffle House on South Cobb Drive near the Kroger.

My advice: don't, since I'm notifying someone at the health department about them tomorrow. It was so near lunch that I had pork chops and James had an omelet and we were both about done eating when a small roach waltzed out from under James' plate and wandered under the napkin holder. I wasn't very hungry after that. We left as soon as possible. In short: ugh!

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» Saturday, January 12, 2008
Busy Bees Have Nothing on Me
Didn't know what time the car place would call, so yesterday I was up just after James left, taking down the Christmas things in the library and in the foyer, and putting up the winter decorations in the foyer and then on the porch. I was just done with the porch when the call came, so I grabbed coat, credit card, and coupons and was picked up to be taken back to the car place. (Poor guy, I gave him the wrong directions. I always give directions from the freeway and I forgot he was coming from the opposite direction, so he took a left instead of right and ended up in the wrong place.)

Now poorer, I was on my way. The most piss-ant thing about the credit card thieves is that here was 1000 points I could have put on my Borders card! The car does sound better. I stopped at the library, returned one book and came out with two. Heh.

Stopped at JoAnn, where I got a few sale trees and an "ice pond" mirror for my "winter park" on the china cabinet. Got a discount winter basket and snowflakes and what looks like white Easter grass [to simulate snow] for the foyer at Michaels. Still no new Yankee at Barnes & Noble. It's been so hard to find in the last year.

Stopped at the central library to look up a book on the way home. Came out with four. Definitely incorrigible.

Set up the little "winter park" on the china cabinet when I got home. This is everything of Hallmark's winter park except for the Christmas tree, plus three of the snowman gardening ornaments and a little snowman playing with his husky dog, plus the trees and the glass "ice pond." It's not spectacular, but cute.

Everything of Christmas except for the things in the hallway (the Rudolph tree), the village, and the big tree was finally put into boxes and set in the library. It all has to go into the closet in a certain order, so it was just staged. One box was still open for the hall things and the remainder of the Christmas things on the room divider behind the tree.

When James arrived home we went to Trader Joe's to get Thai ginger carrots for "Hair Day," then tried to eat at the Longhorn nearby. It is off the main road, so we thought it might not be crowded. Fat chance. They have valet parking, of all things, at night, and the wait was an hour. We went to the Flying Biscuit Café instead. There is not much I can eat there; lots of fried and Mexican. They did have a good chicken soup and I had a side of turkey bacon. James got a mixed green salad with his oven fried chicken and macaroni and cheese, and I ate most of that. The biscuits for which the café is named are quite good, though, high and fluffy, just like James' and Alice's.

Completely forgot about Monk last night; I heard my alarm go off, but I was so busy reading that I didn't pay attention. Good thing there was a repeat tonight.

The "Hair Day" luncheon turned out to be definitely Asian-inspired: the main course was teriyaki chicken, and we had our carrots, and others brought potstickers, hot and sour soup, and fried rice, and our hosts made the most delicious Chinese salad from one of the Paula Deen cookbooks. Oh, and the usual Mexican dip, of course. I loved the Chinese salad, although I received distinct complaints later on from other regions about the cabbage in it.

We dropped by the hobby shop later in the afternoon, and then stopped at MicroCenter. James bought himself a useful little gadget on their website and picked it up at the store, an Asus EEEPC. It's a pint-sized, very inexpensive laptop preloaded with Linux, a wireless card and a modem, and other software including Firefox. He thought it would be a good thing to have when we go away for a weekend or on vacation instead of towing a heavy laptop with us. We can get online, check mail, download photos, and it has Open Office, so I can keep a travel diary or notes. Later on, it connected immediately with our computers when networked in by cable, even though they are two different OS's. Cool and all that.

We came home after that. I put up the Rudolph tree and the two small trees, one for our room and one for the spare room, intact into the box that had been left open. Next year I will just straighten and tweak instead of having to decorate. Then James helped me put the village up and put most of the plastic bins in the closet. I didn't intend to do the rest tonight, but then I realized if I didn't do it tonight, I'd have to do it tomorrow. So I started with the nativity set, then started plucking tinsel off the tree...eventually, after two and a half hours it was all done, tree covered and stuffed back in the closet, boxes back in place, the winter decorations on the room divider, the carpet vacuumed and the rocker back in place (boy, that corner looks naked now, with just a chair).

I did forget to put away the garland and the paper angels that James' sister made for us—we call them "Bandit's angels" because Bandit always looked up at them when they went up and seemed to miss them when they went away—but we can take the box with the Rudolph tree, etc. back down tomorrow and put them up. All I need to do now is put the clock and other things back on the mantel. I wish someone made a plain winter village. It's like in the minds of the decorators that winter ends at Christmas. I was so happy to see winter decorations when I went to Kohl's on December 26!

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» Thursday, January 10, 2008
This Has Been the Damnest Day
And it's not even 1:30 p.m. yet.

Got up this morning and James and I took my car to the NAPA Auto Center on Powder Springs Road. I decided not to take it to Carmax since I was pretty sure that all or most of what was wrong with the car was not covered by the Extended Service Warranty. I was right. Just a few minutes ago the repairman called...car needs new spark plugs, coils, a few other things, plus an oil change and a new air filter. There is a developing problem—apparently I have a small vacuum leak—but he called Chrysler and that is covered by my extended service warranty. So I will be making an appointment soon to get that fixed.

In the meantime, I have been struggling with my telework connections all day. Everything opens for me fine, but I cannot print. In fact, I get a message that tells me I am "not authorized to print" on the printer that is attached to my own computer. Gah. I was working around that when ICE crashed solidly and now I can't log back in without it going directly to that locked up ICE connection.

Just as ICE crashed, the phone rang. I thought it was the car repair place calling me back, but instead it was an automated call from Chase warning me about some possible fraudulent charges on my Borders credit card. I know sometimes there are phishing attempts on the phone, so I pressed "any key" as instructed, ready not to give out any personal information. Instead, the phone hung up.

Immediately I went to my online credit card access. (Actually, first I checked my wallet, just in case. Yes, I have the card.) There, right on top, was a charge made at WalMart yesterday.

Except I didn't go to WalMart yesterday. The last purchase I made on that card was Sunday.

So I called the number on the back of the card and learned that my little thief has certainly been busy! Two charges at WalMart for about $100 each, and also a charge to Value City for $200 something (I never shop at Value City) and something else—I was on my cell and couldn't hear the fraud person very well—with a Spanish name on it. Heh. Anyway, she said she was immediately shutting down my account—so someone's getting a rude surprise today, heh-heh-heh—and I would be sent a fraud statement I had to sign and return and that a new card would be forthcoming.

(Okay, I guess I am missing something, but if I have the card, how are they making charges on it at stores? Do these people have card printing machines that duplicate the magnetic strip? I have been meaning to call up and get a new card because mine doesn't scan well anymore, but I never called, so there was no credit card being sent to me, and the card doesn't—rather, didn't—expire until August. So how are they making these charges?)

When they say they are cancelling your account, BTW, they mean it. I was in my account statement as I talked to her on the telephone, and got out of it to make sure my other Chase card wasn't compromised. This is still on the same logon site, so I just clicked on a link, confirmed it was okay, and clicked back on the Borders link. My account is gone. I can't even look at previous statements.

They're predicting heavy thunderstorms for tonight and I'm starting to get nervous...

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» Wednesday, January 09, 2008
That Was Easy...
Reading the new Reminisce Extra tonight. In Reminisce, the silhouette of an old-fashioned hatpin ("Hattie's hatpin") is always hidden in one of the issues. Extra features two hatpins.

Not only was one easy, it was familiar: a hatpin is in a 1944 photo of a sailor posing next to the familiar statue of Rochambeau overlooking the harbor in Newport, Rhode Island. I've posed by that statue myself!

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What's on Your Night Table?
What I'm reading in A Cozy Nook to Read In.

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Spring Fever (And It Isn't Even Spring)
We had a thunderstorm last night, which of course set Willow to barking, and even with both windows open and both fans going (plus the ceiling fan), it was uncomfortable. I realized why when I checked the thermometer: it was 70°F in our bedroom.

The birds are enjoying it, though, and I'm airing out the house.

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» Tuesday, January 08, 2008
Not Staying Idle
And in this case it's not necessarily a good thing.

I've had to make an appointment for "Twilight" to be seen at Carmax on Thursday since James has that day off (but early enough that he can make his doctor's appointment). In the last couple of weeks, I have noticed the idle not being even, especially when I turned up the blower a little higher to get more heat or air. It has that little "catch" like a car makes before it stalls out, although it has never been severe enough to stall out. It started after I got gas at the QT rather than at Costco or BJs as usual, so I'd wondered if that was the cause, but it hasn't worked itself out. This morning it made the little "catch" as I was driving down I-75 at high speed; I slowed down a bit and it disappeared. When I stopped at the light on Shallowford Road it "caught" again and I noticed that the lights on the dashboard dimmed a tiny bit.

It could be anything, the service department rep at Carmax said, starting from a spark plug. The car does have fuel injection, and I've heard of those getting gummed up; could even be the fuel filter, which is what I was afraid it was this morning at speed. Done blocked fuel filters several times; don't want to do it again.

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» Monday, January 07, 2008
Good Old Fashioned Post-Christmas Blues...
Christmas Book Link...and they come with a sore throat and sinus pain to boot. A tiny gremlin is trying to pierce my sinuses with a knitting needle. Ugh and all that. Nothing has actually been put away because I feel so wretched, but all the candles are out of the windows and the trees unplugged (except for the big one; if I'm going to be sick I might as well have something to enjoy). Everything looks dull and sober again.

I have been making steady progress late this afternoon loading more applications on my new hard drive, so that I only have a few left. I finally ran into a roadblock with PowerDVD. The first time I loaded it, I got some odd messages, but completed the load. The moment I put a DVD into the drive the screen started flickering with no way to get back to a menu and I could no longer control the computer. I shut it down, booted it back up, and used the uninstall to remove it. Then I reinstalled it, got no error messages, but again, the same thing: screen rapidly flickering. Had to shut it down again, reboot, and remove.

My poor guess with the screen flicker is that the video card is involved. James didn't have me load my video card driver when we installed WinXP because the computer behaved perfectly well without it. Perhaps it needs loading after all?

PowerDVD loaded perfectly on his machine with no trouble, but he has a different sort of video card and a newer motherboard.

We'll see when he gets home.

Back to trying to breathe...

[Later that night, still 1789 *: James agreed with my assessment—I needed video drivers. I installed what I thought were mine. None of the software matched. James also used to have a Radeon graphics card and had a driver disk for it. Turns out we had each other's disks. I reinstalled the incorrect ones and installed the entire thing. It said it was missing a file. @#$#@$#$! Uninstalled and reinstalled. #$@!#$##@%$! Still missing a file. Okay, I didn't need Hydravision (used if you have two monitors) or the other stuff; just loaded the driver and the DVD bits. Still didn't work. Uninstalled again. It said it was loading WinXP drivers, but I thought it might need newer ones. Downloaded what I thought were newer ones.

Anyway, I got it to the point where I could install PowerDVD, but it only played sound, not video. What the...? #$!@$@#$! Oops, wrong Radeon card. Downloaded correct driver. It wanted me to have Microsoft .NET 2.0 connected. Say what? Turns out when you installed the whole system it connected you to something where you could download games. #$!#$%#%!#$! I just want my damn DVD player to work! Found the right driver. Did a limited install. Still saying my display wasn't right!

I went searching around for a newer version of DirectX, since it said that might be the problem. Found out I had the newest version. In despair, went back into PowerDVD to see what other things it suggested.

It worked.

I will never understand computers. <g>

* Sorry. Start the Revolution Without Me joke.]

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» Sunday, January 06, 2008
Twelfth Night, Epiphany, and All Those Plastic Bags...
...partying, shopping, and seeing out the Christmas season in Holiday Harbour.

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» Friday, January 04, 2008
Interesting Times
It was an interesting morning.

James had complained of a pain across his collar bone and near his left shoulder yesterday. This has happened before; he strained a muscle, but when he called Kaiser about it they were very careful and had me bring him into the office to check him out (they didn't want him driving). When he got up this morning, he was in more pain and actually complained about it as he was leaving for work. I was concerned and suggested he call the doctor; he was concerned enough to do so.

They said to go to the emergency room, so we spent the morning at Wellstar. Everyone was swell, and it turned out nothing was wrong. But boy, have they remodeled since I had to go there in July!

So I finished out my workday, but because he was home, we got to go to BJs immediately when I was done to pick up the rest of our party things for tomorrow night. When we'd arrived home and then eaten—we loaded WindowsXP on my computer. There was a minor bobble at first; a cable wasn't working and nothing would start, but that was soon overcome. So I'm typing on WindowsXP right now. I have my connection to work re-established, the printer loaded, mIRC loaded as well as Firefox and new versions of Java and Flash, and AVG free version. While James works on Sunday I can reload things like Eudora, WordPerfect, HTML Assistant Pro 2000, etc.

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» Thursday, January 03, 2008
Red-Headed Woodpecker
Wow, just saw this guy at the bird feeder. Tried to grab my camera before he flew off, but was unsuccessful.

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» Wednesday, January 02, 2008
A Walk on the Windy Side
Had a rather late walk with Willow—it's so chilly she tried to turn back halfway through, but we did do the entire complex. It's 26°F, 17 with the wind chill, which is very c-c-cold for these parts <g>, but I remember walking to school once with a wind chill of -10—and that was with a skirt on! Being in sweats is much better. I bundled up in my fleece jacket with a fleece vest over it, but my head was chilly with just Mom's headscarf and the jacket hood; didn't feel like going into the car to fetch my hat.

It feels lovely out, though, the kind of brisk cold wind that wakes you up and makes you feel alive. My cheeks haven't had that cold outline feel in a long time. It's hard to believe that next Monday the forecast is for 65°F! Wish it would stay cold for awhile. Supposedly the warm will bring rain, which will at least be helpful.

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January Came in Like a Lion
Well, you might think there was a March wind out there right now; the trees are tossing and bowing, the wind pushed the chairs on the deck over again, the shades in the bedroom are flapping, and even from inside you can hear the banner mounted on the porch post straining and tugging at its pole. We have a "severe weather alert," which I normally ignore since the Weather Channel now slaps severe weather alerts on everything that's not a sunny day or cloudy day without rain. We used to take wind in our stride unless it was a gale and snow unless it was a blizzard and rain unless someone saw animals walking two by two!

We did have a little treat last night: James took Willow outside before bedtime and there swirling in the streetlight in front of our house were snowflakes. Nothing "stuck" of course; there weren't even that many clouds out there. Hope it's a promise of more rain for the new year.

So here it is back to work again; I sit processing orders while downstairs the dryer revolves and I play the last of the cassette Christmas music. Willow is sound asleep and Schuyler is preening. She is moulting just in time for our Twelfth Night party; we may need to call her "Spike" for the duration with all the pinfeathers she's sprouted!

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» Tuesday, January 01, 2008
New Year and All That
We attended the soiree at the "Rich-Wilbanks estate" and had a grand time. It's a good time of year to catch up what's up with the folks we don't see that often. We were very glad to hear a good friend of ours now has an excellent job. We also found out another friend of ours had had minor brain surgery. Eeek!

We spent most of the evening, including The Big Moment, in the library discussing geekery in all forms, including showing off our electronic devices, including Daniel and Clair's adorable Asus EEEPC, and browsing through Bill and Caran's copious collection of books. I found a dandy one: Inside the Victorian Home.

By contrast, today was quieter. We didn't go to bed until three, so I was still a bit groggy when I got up for the Rose Parade. Splendid stuff this year, but the prize had to go to the Honda "car" that turned into a spaceship. There was also a wonderful five-piece boat ensemble, numerous Chinese-themed floats (including one for Chinese New Year; upcoming is the Year of the Rat—how appropriate for an election year!), an imposing Native American statue, Emeril Lagasse as Grand Marshal, and the usual wonderful horses, including the Clydesdales.

We were planning to go to the movies later, but James was back in the continual struggle with his computer. All of a sudden his main partition with Windows on it only had about 28MB left! So he finally bit the bullet and installed WindowsXP on the new hard drive. It went swimmingly, although Microslop ActiveSync (for his PDA) is being the usual PITA and won't find the PDA.

I was hoping he'd have time to do my drive tonight, but it doesn't look like it's to be. I do have everything backed up now, including my mailboxes, my passwords, and the setup for Eudora mailboxes and my FTP.

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