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, March 31, 2008
TV Redux
The picture is quite bright and convinces me I definitely need new glasses. There is another new scratch at the top of the right lens that is severely annoying, just compounding the other scratches. So I suppose I am off Friday to search for someone who sells decent-sized glasses and not those narrow ones. I can only hope they don't pinch my nose the way these do—but that's what I said about these, too. Seems a forlorn hope.

Torchwood looked quite nice.

Unfortunately the news is all too vivid: a hit-and-run driver killed three out of seven people in an SUV on the freeway tonight. One of those dead is a baby. Too terrible and sad.

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Sadly HDMI-less
Busy day: got the down payment on the fence taken care of, did some bank business. Gregg called at 8:30 saying someone would be here between noon and three. They came at one, set up the television and, with a great deal of difficulty and a scratch on the foyer floor, they got the old television out. They had not been warned there would be a large item to transport.

Everything was set up fine, until I tried to find a place for the satellite box. It could not go up on the television as previously. I tried to put it on the entertainment center, since there was now a great deal of room, but it looked funny there and it was causing interference. So I prepared to put it back on the floor where it had been set up originally—and the HDMI signal quit. Both connections were tight. The satellite box was on. Puzzled, I turned the box "face" down and the signal came on briefly, then died again for good.

Right now the television is connected to the satellite box with component video cables. We went out and bought a second HDMI cable just in case the first had failed, and we tried the new one on all three HDMI outlets. We don't think it could be possible that all three HDMI outlets on a new television failed, and that two cables failed as well. I can only guess that it is the HDMI connection on the satellite box.

Dish is coming Wednesday to install a DVR (we get one for the same price as the box we have now, so we figured we'd get in on it), so we will see what happens.

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» Sunday, March 30, 2008
Look What's Coming to DVD...
Very funny 1960s comedy/romantic film:

If It's Tuesday, This Must Be Belgium

Looks like it will be both full and wide screen.

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Have TV—Won't Travel
We spent three hours going from store to store to store comparing pictures and prices: Best Buy to Circuit City to Costco to Sears to H.H.Gregg, then came home and looked up prices at Fry's and Brandsmart, along with doing other research. We had our final choices with the "S" brands: Sony, Sharp, and Samsung. There was a Sharp we really liked and a friend had recommended a Sharp for the refresh rate (hi, Rodney), but we were blown away by the picture on the Samsung—H.H.Gregg had a segment of The Wild endlessly looping and we were spending time picking out the textures on everything, and the colors were sharp and the blacks good—and the refresh rate was only one millisecond slower than the Sharp.

H.H.Gregg had the one we liked best $200 cheaper than everyone else, so we bought it. We could have brought it home with us, but there's no way James could have gotten the other one, all 200+ pounds of it, off the stand and somewhere out of the way—and what would we have done with it then? Charities will only pick it up if it works. So H.H.Gregg is delivering tomorrow and will take the other away where it can be properly disposed of. And...the satellite box does have an HDMI slot. Cool.

Shiny! Samsung LN46A550 LCD

:-) Torchwood should look just fine on this. (I'd like a nice closeup of Ianto, thanks. <g>)

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» Saturday, March 29, 2008
Rain and Reception
It has continued raining all evening, to the joy of Lake Lanier, and has given me a stinking sinus headache. I also was hungry about 9 p.m. and, not wanting to scarf down anything fattening or heavy, had a bit of the salad that I bought yesterday and which was calling my name. With my digestion, even with a Prilosec, bad choice. But boy, was it good salad: combination of frisée, baby greens, and slivered almonds. Yum.

The television is...still dead. James said one of the sounds it usually makes is deeper in tone and lower in volume. Sounds the same to me. After QB VII I put on a couple of chapters of "The Adventures of Rex and Rinty" serial from the Rin Tin Tin DVD set. Reminds me of watching early 1960s television. Then I settled down with Buckingham Palace Gardens by Anne Perry, which I fetched from the library this afternoon. I finally had to close the windows because it got so chilly, barring out the clanging of the water running down the gutters.

We have just had the plain "TV" on to watch the news and I am aghast at the picture: it's good! We've never gotten good reception via antenna on this television, in our present spare room or in the older one. It wasn't getting good reception near the computer, either, but turned around and near the fireplace, the reception is practically perfect. Odd.

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"Houston, We Have a Problem..."
James was off to work this morning and I was off in search of toothbrushes. :-) There's a certain type of Colgate brush we both like which aren't sold in the regular markets any longer, but the Dollar Tree in Acworth has them. I particularly like this Dollar Tree: it is clean, neat, and well stocked with a variety of products, some brand-name. So I stopped there for a supply, did a nip-in at Books-a-Million just for a look, then stopped at WalMart for the usual supplies (yogurt and all that). There was a group of teens in the Acworth WalMart playing brass and woodwind instruments, to the amusement of the shoppers.

As I left the house it had been hazy, but pleasant, but about halfway to Acworth the sky lowered a bit and the breeze freshened. It brought back memories of leaving a warm spring afternoon and driving a little closer to the seashore, where it was cooler and a bit misty. However, the sky simply stayed low during my journey and I was able to make it back past BJs for gasoline before the rain began to spatter and thunder rumbled gently in the distance.

However, it held off. I arrived home to find our new lawn mowing service had arrived (our other gentleman moved to South Carolina). Willow was bristling at the "invaders" on the property and Schuyler fairly wide-eyed at the loud noises coming from the yard.

I noticed when I came upstairs that there was no picture on the television. This happens occasionally: I come home and the satellite box is off, and I have to unplug it and allow it to "reboot."

Except it was the television that was off, not the satellite box.

Remote didn't work. Button on television didn't work.

Hmn.

On the side chance that the television needed to be "rebooted," I unplugged it, then plugged it back in. I clicked the button on the television and the power clicked on. Ah! Then the usual hum when the picture comes on.

No picture. Then it...squeaked. That's the only way I can describe the sound. Then it clicked off.

And that's all it's done since two o'clock this afternoon.

Schuyler seemed quite upset by the quiet, so after several attempts to revive the television, I have pulled out the setup from the spare room that Mother used to use and we are watching the rest of QBVII while it pleasantly rains outside.

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» Thursday, March 27, 2008
Good Fences Make...
...quotations in Autumn Hollow.

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» Wednesday, March 26, 2008
Farewell to the Fans for Awhile
I came out of work yesterday to find my car dusted with yellow pine pollen. This means no more fans in the window until the trees quit "shedding." If it gets warm, as it is supposed to, we will just have to pop the A/C on. I hate to waste the energy, but it's better than having that dust everywhere in the house and getting in our lungs.

I can tell the pollen is out in full force: my joints have been really aching since Saturday, and despite a Claritin nightly, I wake up stuffy and coughing.

The weather has been so funny this week, cold Monday and yesterday and going up to 77°F (!!!) on Friday, so they say. In fact, Monday I was returning to the building after lunch and there was a sharp north wind blowing, a cloud overhead, and a flurry of snow swirling around me as I walked from the car to the door! Monday they actually did get a frosting of snow up in Blairsville.

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» Tuesday, March 25, 2008
::groan::
XM-Sirius Merger Approved by DOJ

Just tell me we'll be able to keep the good channels on XM and not get stuck with the rotten ones on Sirius.

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» Monday, March 24, 2008
Slowly I Click...
I can see today is going to be jolly. My work computer is responding with the speed of a brain-damaged sloth. I'm not sure if it's the server or if the memory or the video card is starting to go on the individual unit. Screens ... are ... load ... ing ....... sooooooooo ................. slowwwwwwwwwww ......lyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyy .................

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» Sunday, March 23, 2008
Happy—Sorta—Easter
We had a nice sleep-in this morning but I woke up with a sinus headache because I forgot to take my Claritin last night. I rectified this immediately, but the headache was still a nag.

Since we arose so early to lunchtime, we simply waited until noon to have Easter dinner: lobster ravioli, a cucumber salad, and watermelon for dessert. I put Schuyler's cage on the dining room table so she could participate—Willow was of course at James' side hoping for a tossed treat—and she eyed the food with interest. I held up everything to her and she actually tasted several things. I don't think she liked the ravioli sauce. Later, though, I put a piece of watermelon in her cage and she loved it!

We went out to Ikea to pick up something and walked around, then stopped at Borders at Akers Mill on the way back. We hoped Linens'n'Things was open and finally had Vornado fans back in stock, but they were closed. I found a cool book at Borders, though, called Flapper, about the changing face and status of women in the 1920s.

It was almost five when we got home and the lobster ravioli and salad had been a very light meal. I thought I was just hungry, so I made a small salami sandwich and ate it with a glass of milk. It didn't help; I was quite sick to my stomach, either from the cucumber or the watermelon, both which were "repeating" on me. I finally took a PeptoBismol and lay down for about an hour. When I got up I had a GasX and am feeling a little bit better.

Anyway, Easter decoration photos in Autumn Hollow.

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» Saturday, March 22, 2008
Whoa! What a Surprise!
For the past five or six months, I have been looking at a DVD collection at BJs called "Classic Horse Favorites: 4 Film Favorites." This collection had a copy of International Velvet, which has never been released to DVD. I saw International Velvet when it was first released in 1978. Mom and I drove out to the Apple Valley Mall Cinema, which at that time was absolutely tiny, since it was the only place in Rhode Island showing the film. I remember walking into the theatre and thinking it looked like a big living room, with about ten rows of seats, and I swear the screen was the size of those big plasma screens they sell now. I had a few quibbles with the film, mostly the timeline, but most of the acting was sound, the film featured Anthony Hopkins as a hard-nosed equitation trainer, the scenery—especially that of Devon—was exquisite, and the three-day eventing scenes superb, plus the score was pretty good.

I recorded a copy to videotape off a commercial station in the early 1980s, carefully editing out the ads, and transferred it to DVD a few years back. But what I really wanted was a widescreen copy.

This collection seemed a bit redundant. I already had a copy of two of the other films. National Velvet is a favorite of mine. The 1990s version of Black Beauty I already owned, too, and in a widescreen version.

Story of Seabiscuit I remember seeing as a little girl. It is a very fictionalized version of the story of the real horse and is most famous for featuring Shirley Temple in an adult role. I don't remember liking it all that much; very much a typical 1930s-1940s horseracing flick.

However, I was still drawn by having an ad-less, less-faded version of International Velvet (and I had missed last summer's broadcast on TCM, which was letterboxed), despite the box description telling me the film was in full frame, so when I was at BJs Friday I indulged. Well, I popped the DVD into the player this afternoon and was absolutely delighted to find out the darn thing is in widescreen despite the description! So, cool!

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Swiftly Shipping Stuff
Zowie! I figured since we will be getting the fence soon, if I wanted to put in a largish Amazon order, I'd better do it now. I really wanted to order because I found the most incredible deal: Amazon has each volume of the 3-volume oversize hardback new edition annotated Sherlock Holmes on sale for $8 each. (Two volumes are the short stories and the other is the novels. The entire set sells in Borders for $120.) I love Sherlock Holmes and I love annotated books. A natural. I also found a couple of things for James I couldn't pass up; I saw the preview for one of them and was absolutely in love. I'll probably give them to him when they arrive rather than waiting for his birthday, 'cause I want to check 'em out, too.

Anyway, the one thing I was looking for on Amazon was a second battery for my camera. I'd looked at one when I bought the camera: $50. Wow. Hoped it would be cheaper at Fry's. Yow!: $70! You gotta be kidding. I thought of going to Batteries Plus, but since I was ordering from Amazon checked them first. Much better: $30. Then I saw the link below it. There was a generic battery for half the price, and it looked identical, except it was labeled "Battery Pack" rather than "Sony."

Anyway, I ordered it Wednesday. It ships from another seller who is an Amazon associate and I received it today. Double wow. It's charging now.

It's possible it's not quite as good and doesn't hold a charge for as long, but for $15 it was worth a shot.

I also looked into getting a copy of QBVII from a Amazon Marketplace seller and found one for a very reasonable price, considering when it was released it was about $50 and Amazon now sells it for $25. That was also ordered Wednesday and also arrived today. It is still shrink wrapped with original seal.

Everything else in my order has already shipped and should arrive Tuesday, except for the spare camera battery charger. I actually didn't need this, but noticed it came with a D/C car adapter and a plug to convert it to European voltage, for only $11. This will take longer to come, but, as I said, I don't need it immediately.

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» Friday, March 21, 2008
Easter Round the Corner
I had a nice sleep-in this morning, awakened by the fence company calling to arrange for a time to give me a quotation. I was hoping to get home before noon—in hindsight a forlorn hope—and grabbed a Slim Fast meal bar and left. I picked up a cucumber for Easter dinner salad and something else for dessert, among other things, at Kroger, then went on to the other WalMart on the East-West Connector, the one at Powder Springs Road. This one is much nicer, cleaner and has better checkout lines, but sometimes their stock is lacking.

This time I lucked out though, although I didn't find what I went there looking for. For the last few years I have been wearing a large-sized heavy-weight Electrical Eggs man's t-shirt as a sleepshirt (Electrical Eggs does handicapped access at science-fiction conventions); it's so big on me that it goes down to my knees and the short sleeves fall past my elbow. I wanted something a little lighter, so I got two short-sleeved ladies' nightshirts, one aqua-color in a print, the other gas-flame blue with a butterfly on it. I also bought more light bulbs (I've started a stash in anticipation of 2011) and found three little resin crosses for decoration down in the foyer. It's so hard to find Easter decorations that aren't bunnies/chicks/eggs.

At BJs I did the big purchase: yow. Of course I bought Easter dinner—we're having more lobster ravioli...yum—and a boneless pork roast that I had cut into 1/2 inch chops, plus other necessities like toilet paper and mandarin orange cups.

Mindful of the things in the insulated bags in the trunk of the car, I stopped at Borders on the way home and grabbed a book. When I got home I sat and had the rest of my cashew chicken for lunch and watched the Addie Mills story The Easter Promise.

Then a long spate of vacuuming and now I am eating an apple and blogging...

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» Thursday, March 20, 2008
Good Fences...
We had our association meeting last night and only eight homes out of 33 were represented. (Granted, three are rentals and one of those three is empty.) It's only one night a year. Sad.

Anyway, we spoke with Kristi about her really nice-looking fence and got the name of the company who installed it. I have called them to get a quotation.

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» Wednesday, March 19, 2008
Storm Front
How you know it's spring in Georgia: thunderous storm fronts rolling in from the west. After what happened last Friday, everyone is watching the approaching storm with a wary eye. One estimate I saw says the tornado damage to downtown Atlanta will cost $25 million to clean up. There was also some interesting footage on the news last night of a carriage horse on Peachtree Street who heard the storm behind her, broke her harness, and ran for her life. She escaped with only some glass cuts and her driver is now affectionately calling her "Tornado." You can almost see the horse thinking "I'm outta here!"

The sky is grey now, and occasionally the trees toss and the wind comes whistling through the living room window.

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» Monday, March 17, 2008
I Didn't Even Need a DeLorean
I've gone back in time somehow...right now my telephone at work says it's "Jan 1 12:21am."

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It Is To Laugh
I've been picking up an issue of the British edition of "Country Living" every month for a while now. I get the American version via subscription because they gave me a cheap, cheap rate (basically I buy the Hallowe'en, Thanksgiving, and Christmas...oooops, I mean the October, November and December issues annually, which adds up to $24 for two years' worth of three issues—the subscription was $18 for 24 issues). The American version is basically a decorating magazine: usually two or three homes are profiled. They also have an antiques column, recipes, a few gardening articles, and promotions for certain products.

The British version has the recipes, gardening articles,the promotions and the home profiles, but they also talk about actually living in the country: there is a regular column by a smallholder, a regular column about farm animals, articles about small towns with farming roots, usually an article about alternative energy sources and/or "green" solutions and promotion of British-raised foods. I find it a more interesting read.

However, it's always advertising that pays the bills, and I was quite amused at one of the cover stories on the March issue, which says "Bring Back Thrift! Style on a Shoestring in Two Country Cottages," because the magazine is always filled with advertisements for "bespoke" (the British term for "custom-built") kitchens and baths that look like something out of the HGTV Dream Home, Rayburn and Aga cooking ranges (which run into the thousands of dollars since they usually also do double-duty as heating systems), glass conservatories, expensive-looking home additions, Chanel perfumes, and other pricy products. In practical terms, overly-cheap furniture and appliances aren't economical either, but "thrift" and the $7,500 sideboard and the $$$$ custom gourmet kitchens just don't seem to go together. :-)

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» Sunday, March 16, 2008
Sunny Afternoon
James gave the kitchen a good cleaning and put the grates in the dishwasher while I did the bathroom thing; by the time we both finished and went through the newspaper, we decided it was time to go out for a little bit and enjoy ourselves. We swung by the post awful to mail Easter cards, then went out to the Borders in East Cobb to redeem our Valentine Seattle Best coffee shop freebee coupons, which expired today. James doesn't like coffee and I can't drink it, so we both had cocoa trios instead, sharing the coffee shop space with mostly college (maybe high school) students doing their homework. I found a great book called Sara and Eleanor, about Eleanor Roosevelt's relationship with her mother-in-law.

The Borders in East Cobb is located in a shopping center called "The Avenue at East Cobb." (There is also an "Avenue at West Cobb." That one has a Barnes & Noble.) It is arranged around a horseshoe shaped road with trees, bushes in flower beds, and benches dotted periodically on the sidewalk. Many people go there just for a walk-around and we found folks just enjoying the sunny, low-60s temps. One lady had a rambunctious, long-coated half-grown dog who came bouncing toward us. He looked like a wheaten-colored briard. (Maybe he was.) Then, along the sidewalk near Williams-Sonoma, there was a balding, middle-aged guy in a tank top and shorts, supervising a pack of tiny Yorkshire terriers, all male. They had just been shorn for the summer with only their heads left fully furred and without the hair looked tinier than chihuahuas.

Before we stopped at Borders we had gone to Trader Joe's. Picked up more of their delicious chicken apple sausage, some popcorn, thai ginger carrots, etc. I found a salad bag full of nothing but what Harry's calls "Chinese endive" and what Trader Joe's calls "frisée." Whatever. I love this stuff. I suppose I should have gotten some baby greens to go along with it, but I was just so excited to find it.

So now I'm off to have a nice frisée salad, sprinkled with slivered almonds and scattered with a bit of Asian Sesame dressing. Bye...

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Hit'n'Run Shopping
We managed to make it to WallyWorld by 10:30 a.m. and got directly through the lines...hurrah! They also had the small whole-wheat low-carb tortillas, which is one of the things we go there for, and we restocked on the Blue Bunny sugarless ice cream bars. Only WalMart and Food Depot have them and WalMart is the only one that carries the chocolate ones. Since it hadn't hit 50°F yet, we stuck the ice cream in one of our insulated bags and zipped to Costco. I think we have found the ideal time to go: at 11:00 a.m! All the samples were out, which was good since James had not had breakfast and seemed on the verge of a crash, with none of the crowds. I love having lunch at Costco. We had spinach Parmesan dip on chips, Irish butter on crusty bread, lobster spread on crackers, cheese on whole wheat crackers, some other cheese samples, dried berries, fresh-baked Nestles mini chocolate-chip cookies, chocolate-covered raisins, and mini cream-puffs. Better menu than McDonald's, I'll tell you. :-)

Plus I bought some lobster spread for Hair Day.

Incidentally, in the $5 DVD bin at WalMart I found two treats: a bunch of episodes of The Jack Benny Show and some other shows with Jack Benny appearances, and a set of four Rin-Tin-Tin serials from the 1930s. (I wish someone had the silents! The "Rinty" in the 1930s films is Rin-Tin-Tin Jr, I believe; I would like to see the original dog who was rescued from the battlefields of France during World War I and who only appeared in the silents.) These are by Mill Hill or Mill Valley or something like that. No idea of the quality, but I suppose at $5 a pop you get what you pay for. LOL.

And then home for a jolly scrubbing out of the bathroom.

Not! :-)

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» Saturday, March 15, 2008
Stormy Weather
After being awoken constantly last night by the weather radio screeching, thunder, and Willow barking, we finally arose to find another bank of storms of the same magnitude heading for us. We checked the radar and decided to try to do our errands before the time the storms were supposed to hit, 1 p.m.

The sky became darker and lower and by the time we hit the hobby shop at 12:30 the tornado sirens were wailing. Rusty put on the television—WXIA was reporting on the storm all afternoon—and the weather seemed to be going north of us, so we finished the rest of our errands, keeping a careful eye on the sky as we did.

The tornado sirens went off twice more after we got home, and the sky went from dark to sunny to dark again. Again, the bulk of the storms went west and east and the footage coming in was sobering: barns blown down, roofs ripped off, cars crushed. Only two deaths were reported, thank God. By the time we went out for supper it was clear and sunny, as if all had been washed clean.

We had supper at Fresh2Order: I had the pork and James had the chicken special; we both had wheat berry rice on the side. I have not had a bad menu item at this place. We also went to Radio Shack to get some cables to connect my stereo with my computer. I am hoping at some point to transfer some records to .mp3 format.

Incidentally James finished fixing up my computer today. We noticed last week that the motherboard had no parallel printer port and we have (um, I guess "had" is the operative word) a parallel printer. So one of the things we did this morning was to buy a parallel port. But when he installed it, it didn't work, even after working all the troubleshooting protocol. Anyway, I had noticed when we were looking for the switch to turn it off that it also had a USB port. Voilà: that worked. Bless USB, it does everything.

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The Sound and the Fury
We made it home last night before the looming thundercloud we had seen coming out of Oriental Cafe. We were safely in the house when the thunder crashed and Willow started wandering between us, nervously whining. For about a minute hail clattered on the deck and the chimney cap, then it was a hard rain. There was more thunder, the satellite signal blanked for a few minutes, and very soon the storm went over.

When we got home, the channel we had left on for Schuyler was playing a basketball game. We never changed it: James was trying something on his EEPC, and I was redesigning a web page, so we were totally oblivious. I think I saw a Georgia Tech logo, that's about all. Finally James got done with his project and said, "I'm sick of basketball," and he changed to the news.

Holy cow! The same cell that had rumbled by our way had completely trashed downtown Atlanta, only about 21 miles south and east of us. We watched with open mouths at people reporting holes in the side of the Georgia Dome and a woman who lived near Centennial Park talking about a "whirling wind," debris scattered on the street in front of CNN center and water pouring down the stairs inside the Georgia World Congress Center!

According to the following, they have confirmed it was a tornado.

Storms Stagger Atlanta

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» Friday, March 14, 2008
Music to Soothe the Sleepy Brain
I'm in the middle of the most mind-numbing task...of course you have to know it involves numbers. (It's not as mind-knumbing as my very first job, but then few things are as boring as charging [putting the solder pellet on pieces of jewelry so the solderer can solder them to a clip].) I have nineteen pages of 52 line items each; each line item is a purchase order I'm supposed to look up and see if it can be closed. About 100 are already done, so this means I have to look up about 825 orders. Stack on top it the problems I have with numbers...I often transpose numbers when I am transcribing and have better luck visualizing the number after I have looked at it, rather than reading it off and typing it—if I read off 21237, for instance, there's a good chance I will type it 21273, but I can visualize the 21237 numerals until I can type them. This is the way I passed school tests in subjects I had trouble with: I would read my notes and textbooks over and over just before the test, and when the question came I could close my eyes and see the pages.

Never worked well in algebra, though, but I could get a solid "A" in geometry every time.

To assuage the boredom I have resorted to my records: "The Partridge Family Album," the soundtrack to You're a Good Man Charlie Brown (the Hallmark Hall of Fame version, the pre-Sally one), QBVII, and just finished Oliver and Company, and now have on "Barry," which includes the hilarious "The Last Duet," Barry Manilow with Lili Tomlin. "You're much too blond!" "You snore!" Mary Fall played the album one day way back when in the 1980s when I used to go up to Boston to visit friends and I had to go out and buy it after hearing "Last Duet."

QBVII, the score written by the late Jerry Goldsmith for the miniseries, reminds me I really need to hunt up the DVD set. It was the first in a series of great miniseries: Holocaust, Rich Man Poor Man, Roots, Eleanor and Franklin... This was also the first LP I bought with my own money rather than getting one as a gift, purchased in the record department of Jordan Marsh at Warwick Mall (back when there was a record department in department stores and a Jordan Marsh at Warwick Mall <wry g>).

Hm. Maybe after this I'll put on the score to Foul Play, which has "Ready to Take a Chance Again"...

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» Wednesday, March 12, 2008
A Literary Lunch
I had lunch "on the fly," so to speak, because one of my interlibrary loan books was due today—you must hand ILLs directly to the librarian; no going to the book drop—so since I was finished with all four I took them all back.

I was nearly distracted in the biography aisle: Johnny Weissmuller and Beatrix Potter definitely caught my eye. But I had seen a box on the porch as I drove off, so I headed back home to find that my eBay purchase had arrived...yay! I bought three DVDS: Good Night and Good Luck, about Edward R. Murrow; Hollywoodland, a story about the mystery of George Reeves; a volume of episodes from television's Roy Rogers Show; plus the second season DVD set of Sergeant Preston of the Yukon. I also bought three books: A Pictorial History of Radio, which I had long drooled over in a used bookstore well known for its excessive pricing (despite that, I loved the store...it was replaced by a Whole Foods, which was not a fair trade at all); The Encyclopedia of American Radio, which I long drooled over in Waldenbooks (back when I still went to Waldenbooks); and The Penguin TV Companion, which can be sorta described as a British version of Tim Brooks and Earle Marsh's Complete Directory to Prime-Time Network and Cable TV Shows. Wish there weren't so many American shows in it, but I will enjoy reading the British descriptions of our things that float across "the pond."

And also in the mail were a new Plow and Hearth catalog and the April "Country Living." A good haul from the postman today. Thanks, Ivan!!!!!!

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Heritage
James Lileks has a link in his blog today of his photoessay of the Minneapolis Armory. It brought to mind the Cranston Armory, which sits deserted and in need of funding and restoration. While Lileks' armory, circa 1937, is a marvel of Art Deco design, the earlier era of the Cranston Armory (built in 1907 to house the RI National Guard) gave it a very different look. I'm sure kids for generations have referred to it as "the castle," since that's what it looks like.

The Cranston Armory

We would always pass it every time we took the bus downtown. At this point it looks as if it will meet the same fate as the grand old trolley barn further down on Cranston Street; plans abounded for it for years—mall, offices, museum—while it crumbled and finally was laid to rest in 2005.

Speaking of downtown, was searching for photos yesterday and came upon the photo below—brought tears to my eyes. Although Westminster Street is a street once again and I remember it as a street as a very small child, later being converted into a pedestrian mall, this is the way I remember Westminster Street best, as Westminster Mall. Even as being "newish" in the following photo (I say "newish" because it appears Newberry's—down the street from Thom McAn—is still open, or it's at least before they took the lettering down—the downtown Providence Newberry's closed in 1968, I believe), and it's still the old Woolworth red sign as opposed to the blue sign they had in the 1980s (and possibly late 70s), it already looks a bit run down at the heels. Westminster Mall was supposed to help draw folks away from Midland Mall, but in the end it failed.

Westminster Street, Providence, RI, late 1960s?

Just next to Kay Jewelers, going away from the POV of this shot, was the entrance to the Alice Building. Built in 1898, the front apparently looks like this now, and the interiors like this, but I remember it with the arched window as in this photo, with big wooden/glass doors rather than the steel-and-glass doors shown. At that time (1965) the interior had not been freshly remodeled and more resembled the type of office buildings you see in 1930s-1940s drama movies, with narrow corridors and wooden doors with frosted glass panels in the top half leading into offices. The Alice Building housed doctors and lawyers and other such denizens then, their names painted in gold leaf or black paint upon the glass in the doors. I believe the building still had, back then, the cage elevator doors that the operator had to close, too.

It was in the Alice Building that I got my first pair of glasses, at age ten, and I remember walking down the steep stairs from the lobby to the street and seeing, first thing, that big red Woolworth's sign, and, having lived in a nearsighted blur for quite awhile, turned to my mother and exclaimed in awe, "Mommy, I never knew the world was so bright!"

And it had edges, too. :-)

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» Tuesday, March 11, 2008
A Moveable Feast...
...for this year only, in Holiday Harbour.

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Unable to Stomach It
Everywhere I go in various groups I hear about folks catching some type of "stomach flu," especially in my Christmas group where folks have been felled one by one, some after taking care of children or grandchildren with the complaint. Since I have neither, I have no idea where yesterday's malaise came from, but I'll be thankful if it goes away quickly. Luckily the only symptoms I have had has been pain in the midsection and nausea, plus very bizarre dreams (so bizarre that they are indescribable). I know it's not really a "flu" since there's no fever. When milk makes me sick, I know something is amiss! It's mostly better today, but I still feel wrung out and vaguely queasy.

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» Monday, March 10, 2008
Loaded
Or re-loaded, rather. Everything is except for the games, including the things I had not previously loaded when we updated to WindowsXP in January. The mailboxes have personality again. FTP is set up (was working fine when I set it up and now has that odd lag in it again). At this point I don't want to see a Windows Installer screen for a long time. :-)

I also got my wireless mouse hitched up. Apparently the two batteries I put into it yesterday were not working. Some games are much better played without a tail on the mouse.

[Oh, I found out how to change the pictures on the WindowsXP welcome screen. Previously James had a generic airplane and I had a snowflake. Now he has a F-104 Starfighter and I have Lassie. <g> I like doing stuff like this. Back when we had to start Win3.1 from the DOS prompt, I had the computer, which was nicknamed "Sam," rigged so the DOS prompt said "I am Sam, Sam I am, I do not like green eggs and ham."]

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» Sunday, March 09, 2008
Sleepy
Been sitting here at the computer since 6:30, loading things. All the essentials are loaded, although all the personalities in Eudora aren't set up. I can check traffic and weather before work. WordPerfect is installed, of course. :-) Paint Shop Pro 5 at the minimum to convert graphics. Several more graphics programs to load. And the games, maybe, finally.

Sleepy...

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I'm Back...
Whew. We went to MicroCenter and picked up a SATA drive, went to Costco, relaxed briefly at lunch at Longhorn, then came home and James set to work. We had two small bobbles: the new short network cord James got for me at MicroCenter didn't seem to work (but we suspect it wasn't plugged in properly) and then I had to phone Microslop for the "mother may I" since I had already loaded WinXP once already this year. You'd think Bill Gates, with all his charities, would employ people in his own country.

I have Citgo working again, so teleworking is safe. Now I have to reload all this other stuff. ::groan::

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Mantra
DST sucks. DST sucks. DST sucks. DST sucks. DST sucks. DST sucks. DST sucks. DST sucks. DST sucks. DST sucks. DST sucks. DST sucks. DST sucks. DST sucks. DST sucks. DST sucks. DST sucks. DST sucks. DST sucks. DST sucks. DST sucks. DST sucks. DST sucks. DST sucks. DST sucks. DST sucks. DST sucks. DST sucks. DST sucks. DST sucks. DST sucks. DST sucks. DST sucks. DST sucks. DST sucks. DST sucks. DST sucks. DST sucks. DST sucks. DST sucks. DST sucks. DST sucks. DST sucks. DST sucks. DST sucks. DST sucks. DST sucks. DST sucks. DST sucks. DST sucks. DST sucks. DST sucks...

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» Saturday, March 08, 2008
It Didn't Work
Everything we read online said that basically we are screwed. (If anyone knows differently, write now please!) Another person said they also changed their motherboard, video driver, etc. and got the same blue screen. They just had to back everything up and then reformat.

It looks like it will be better just to get a SATA drive that goes with the motherboard/processor/etc. Sigh.

Meanwhile we used the WindowsXP disk to network the laptop (still on Win98 since we don't have the drivers for it), which the Visual Quickstart Guide WinXP book said we could do, through the wired network card which we had bought several years ago. We were never able to network through Win98, but this worked just fine.

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Well, That Didn't Work Either
When he tried to boot it up it gave him a blue screen of death with Stop: 0X0000007E error. Said it couldn't continue booting because there was something wrong with the Windows boot. We just put the WindowsXP disk back in and ran the recovery program. It did a checkdisk and said it fixed one or more errors. Who knows?

Maybe the best thing to do is just buy a new SATA drive. We don't need this grief.

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Disaster as Always
Everything went together fine. Then he plugged it in. When it booted up it saw the optical drives but not the hard drive. He went into CMOS and tried to see if there was someplace where he was supposed to initiate the SATA drive or do something that made the IDE convert to SATA or whatever. The box for the card says clearly it's a SATA converter for an IDE drive. Should the computer be seeing it as IDE? Or SATA? Is it because the hard disk was already formatted for an IDE system and now it's trying to run SATA? Is there a difference to Windows?

He pulled out one of the optical drives and is now trying to cobble it up so the hard drive and the other optical drive will run off the one IDE. The cable is so short that he had to put the hard drive into the optical drive bay. It looks ridiculous. I wish these things came with better instructions. There didn't appear to be any jumpers you changed on the adapter card or on the motherboard to make the SATA components see the IDE hard drive, so what the dickens is wrong?

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The Surgeon and the Cheerleader
Well, we are back from Fry's. The flurries stopped by the time we were halfway there and gradually the clouds pulled back revealing a perfect blue winter's sky, at least for today. (Tomorrow the temp goes up and the color goes down.) The wind is still quite brisk and has blown all our plastic lawn chairs upside down.

James said I needed something with two IDE ports because I have two optical drives and an IDE hard drive, but he was limited on choices to a cheaper Celeron drive and a $139 drive. The alternative was to have to buy me yet another hard drive, a SATA drive, and start all that loading nonsense again. Then the salesman told him they had SATA to IDE converter cards. So we were able to get a bundle of motherboard/processor/2GB of memory, plus the converter card. They don't make motherboards with AGP video slots anymore, so I also had to buy a video card, but I found one with a rebate. There is also a rebate on the memory. I also bought a new wireless mouse and bought James a tiny USB hub (he has 1.1 and needed 2.0).

We came home via Kroger and the hobby shop and now he is doing heart surgery on my computer whilst I cheer him on.

Oh, I was finally able to get one photo, not sure of the quality, when that red-headed woodpecker came to the suet feeder this afternoon. I was lining up for a better shot when the battery on my camera died. I was looking at the prices of them at Fry's and nearly had heart failure. They are cheaper at Office Depot! James says we need to look at Batteries Plus first, and I will check online. It will be good to have a spare battery, especially for DragonCon.

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Flurries
I have woken resigned to the idea of new innards for my computer. I was having a tremendous lot of trouble working with it via Citrix Thursday; maybe the dying processor was the reason. James' computer works (worked) like quicksilver next to mine, which was slow to boot up even though the innards were fairly new. It's just the flurry of new ideas...just like the flurries outside!

Once again it was humid and sticky yesterday, despite being only in the 50s, and now the wind is waving the trees and there is a light veil of little flurries dancing around in the breeze. There is the thinnest of snow coatings on parts of the deck and in the yard under the trees. The weatherman thought last night that the snow would go north of us, but here it is pleasantly making hash of the spring landscape. I'd noticed yesterday that the Bradford pear trees were already starting to bloom. They look like giant snowballs when they are in full flower, so somehow the flurries are appropriate.

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» Friday, March 07, 2008
Oh, This is Stupid
It's only a computer, but I feel so lost without it.

And I was planning on putting some money into the principal on the mortgage and now I'll have to use it to buy a new motherboard, processor, memory and a video card, since motherboards don't support the AGP card I have any longer. Grumble.

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Well, Nuts...
My computer seems to have just died. I was in the middle of something and it just shut off. Turned it on again several times and sometimes it did not post. Even when it did come up once it then turned itself off.

James thinks it may be the processor since it has been overheating for a while and just shuts off for no reason.

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All on a Cloudy Friday
It had rained this morning and as I ran around doing errands the clouds were low, black and threatening, but aside from a rumble of thunder I thought I might have heard, not a drop fell from the sky, but the clouds made it nice to drive.

I was off to JoAnn this morning since they were having one of their coupon madness things. I needed a new storage box and also got some always necessary things: Scotch tape, iron-on patches, things like that. Then I nipped next door to Linens'n'Things hoping they finally had the fans out, but I was told not until the third week in March. Um, guys, this is Georgia. We already need them. We have the Vornado fans in our room; they are more expensive but the racket doesn't keep you awake at night like a regular fan. Mine died a few months back, probably from being on 24 hours a day most of the time, and possibly from being rained on.

Also bought some clamps in Office Max and looked around for a multi-card reader for James; I had gotten mine there for a reasonable price. I did find an MP3 player, one of the kind I like, the one that looks like a thumb drive, for only $20, but didn't buy it. Not sure if I want one.

I came home via the Avenue at West Cobb on Dallas Highway and finally found the new "Yankee" in Barnes & Noble. Checked their Linens'n'Things, no fans either, and nipped into Hallmark.

I came home via the Kroger at Battle Ridge although I was feeling like my cough was about to start up again; wanted to get the bananas and the yogurt out of the way. Guess what—not a banana in the store, and none of my yogurt either. Sigh. I did find a treat for supper and prepared it to marinate when I got home.

Hmn. Thought I heard thunder just now, but it turned out it was someone's radio.

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» Thursday, March 06, 2008
"I'm Awake!"
Been a busy week, although the first part of it was composed of innumerable messes at work that would just not get straight. When things I could do finally came pouring in this afternoon, the system slowed to a crawl and I never did get the final two things I wanted to get accomplished done. Most of the time answering e-mails and composing purchase orders took my mind off how wretched I felt: sneezing, coughing, and sinus headachy. Flu? No, just my wretched allergy.

We've had an enjoyable time watching some new DVDs this week, after the Ratatouille feature on Tuesday. For Valentines Day I bought James a set called "NASA: the Ultimate Collection." These are different documentaries from NASA's archives. No attempt has been made to "digitally remaster" (oh, that buzzword!) these, so they are scratched, color shifted—and fascinating to watch, although they are typical of the 60s, male narrator, all very serious, simple animation and drawings when needed. Alan Shepard's groundbreaking first flight and John Glenn's first orbits of course were covered, but there is also a documentary about Gordon Cooper's "Faith 7" flight (narrated by Alexander Scourby, so long the "voice" of the National Geographic Specials), and two Gemini mission documentaries.

Wednesday night (after my trip to Borders during lunch) we watched One Hundred and One Dalmatians. I love this movie. It's fun, suspenseful, occasionally tender (such as the scene where Roger revives the stillborn puppy), and, best of all, full of dogs! We watched most of the extras, too, which included two songs that were deleted from the story. The part where they talked about how they animated the automobiles was fascinating.

Been finishing my library books this week—more about that in Cozy Nook—and am now sorry I did not buy either America 1908 or Wait Till Next Year (or both) with the 40 percent off Borders coupons from a few weeks ago. Maybe some more will come up soon (near Easter or Mother's Day????). I also want to get Adam Gopnik's Through the Children's Gate.

I had some bids on e-Bay items sold by a friend and won them all, most purchased at about 99¢ each, like A Pictorial History of Radio and a British book of television series, also a copy of the DVDs Hollywoodland (about George Reeves) and Good Night and Good Luck (about Edward R. Murrow), and (ta-da!) the second season of Sergeant Preston of the Yukon.

James was off today due to working on Sunday and one of the things he did was go to the bank to establish a savings account. He would be taking advantage of a Wachovia system in which every time you use your debit card they put $1 into your savings, plus they will match the first $300. I asked him when he got home if he was going to do what I do, which is when I get paid, anything that is left from the previous paycheck I transfer into savings via online banking. He said, "I can't." Huh? If he wants to transfer money from his checking to his savings, he has to do it at the bank. If he wants to deposit money into savings, he has to deposit into his checking and then transfer it to his savings (again at the bank). Then what in the heck is the use of having online banking besides for bill pay? That is absurd.

I started to load some games on my computer today and discovered the Around the World in 80 Days homage I bought took up half the game space! Maybe I'll uninstall it. I'd rather have Jeopardy back on.

I was amused to discover that the squirrel has already made his assault against our new seed bucket. In frustration at not being able to get into the nice galvanized steel, the little wretch pee'd on it instead. Nyah!

The weather is still bouncing up and down like a rubber ball. We went from 73°F one day to 38 that night; it was in the high 60s today and it's supposed to be in the 40s on Saturday, which is fine with me. All the 60° days have been sticky. I hope it keeps raining regularly; maybe it can't make up for the drought loss from last year, but hopefully we can keep even.

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» Monday, March 03, 2008
Bye-Bye Sun
So I bid a fond farewell to the sunrise this morning, since it will be raining tomorrow, and since Daylight Farging Savings Time starts next Sunday, it'll be pitch-dark when I drive to work again. 'Scuse me if I thumb my nose at DST.

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» Sunday, March 02, 2008
DVD Viewing
Turned out I watched John-Boy get his book published in the fifth season finale of The Waltons (and sat there crying from when Mrs. Herbert told him her daughter had died), and then watched "Night of the Watery Death" and "Night of the Man-Eating House" (one of my favorite episodes) from second season of Wild Wild West. What a wet dream for guys those gals on WWW were!

I still like Artemus Gordon best.

When James came home from work we had pot lucks and watched Ratatouille, which we had never seen. A bit long, I thought, but very enjoyable and amusing, despite the thought of rats being in a restaurant was a bit much. (I noticed they emphasized how neat Remy was, and also "sterilized" the other rats when they helped in the restaurant kitchen.) As someone who once had a rat in her kitchen, not to mention once eating at a restaurant where I saw a rat run under a sideboard, this is a bit of a sore point. :-) "Corn Puppies," huh? LOL.

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ARRRGH!
When are the damn Presidents Day car dealership sales gonna stop? Kia is still pushing the "Millard Fillmore soap on a rope" and I heard that awful "Hail to the Chief" abortion that General Motors has been doing again last night.

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New Broom = More Work
Since I stupidly forgot the JoAnn coupons yesterday and I didn't want us to have to go back out to Town Center, I thought I would get up promptly and go this morning. James was already at work when I rose—and discovered the two 50 percent off coupons expired yesterday. Ooops. It was a bit providential because I woke up coughing (the pollen count is already high) and didn't feel like going anyway.

Instead I went to BJ's to fill up the car (aieeee! $40!), then stopped at Kroger to get a paper and fresh buns for my lunch sandwich. I also bought some salami for work lunches and some baby greens for my lunch today. I started to pull in the garage and then realized I had wanted to sweep it out. So I did so, but it was a bit more difficult than expected, since the push broom bristles were nearly flat from being rested on all winter, and the garage broom, several years old, was pretty tatty. So when I finished I went to Dollar General for a new broom. (I hung the push broom up in hopes that it will help, but I doubt it. DG doesn't have push brooms, so we'll have to get a new one elsewhere.) Bought Easter cards while I was there.

I used the new broom to sweep the deck, and then took all the winter decorations off the porch and swept the porch and the front stairs. Since Scott won't come for another month, I also sprayed some Ortho in the corners on the porch. I had to fix the spring door wreath since it was damaged in the fall of the boxes in the closet, so it was several minutes working with my cutting pliers and the ubiquitous floral wire.

It's already 70°F so all the spring things seem appropriate. I'll tackle the inside later, or tomorrow, or Friday, whenever. Always worried about working out in the sun, even with my hat on; my heart thumps so hard and loud after I've been in the sunshine.

Ate my salad, sprinkled with some nice slivered almonds and three Fig Newtons as a chaser, while watching Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea on the Fox Movie Channel. Not sure I'm going to keep watching it—might be better to watch a film James doesn't like—but do like this movie.

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» Saturday, March 01, 2008
Lambie Pie
Been a quiet weekend and James has to go to work tomorrow.

We did have a nice day today: breezy March, which came in like a lamb, and so appropriate to later. We drove out to Trader Joe's and got a few things, including their wonderful chicken sausage and Thai soy ginger carrots. We made a brief stop at Borders, where I found a gift for a friend and something on the remainder stack called The Religion Book.

We stopped at the hobby shop, of course, and James bought the new Airfix Doctor Who kit: you get the TARDIS, the Doctor, and Martha. The TARDIS makes its "wheezing like a grampus" sound and the light on top blinks when you open the doors. Pic here.

We came home to put our perishables up in the fridge and then continue our ongoing battle against the squirrels. On the way to the hobby shop we had stopped at Wild Birds Unlimited and got a small, galvanized steel can (looks like a mini-trash can) to keep the birdseed in. Let's see Mr. Squirrel try to chew through that. I also bought a suet cake container that has a smaller mesh so the squirrel can't get his paw in between. We can then start getting regular suet cakes rather than the hot pepper ones. We may have to get a baffle for the new feeder, since it is showing squirrel teethmarks at the top.

(Hm. I just thought...hope the bigger woodpecker can get his beak in...)

Anyway, we refilled the feeder and then just stood back against the wall. I whistled like I always do when I fill the feeder, trying for a conditioned response, and sure enough those brave little brown-headed nuthatches appeared, grabbing seeds and pecking them apart with us standing there!

For supper we went to Fresh to Order again and had bourbon steak with the mashed sweet potatoes and braised baby greens. I love the latter, but wasn't crazy about these—too greasy. We then walked off our supper across the mall and just for the heck of it we stopped at Bath and Body Works...and they had more "lambies." They were selling these on Black Friday, but by the time I got to B&BW they were sold out. They come in a tiny size and a miniature size, too, but I got the full-sized lambie which is a pillow with lavender in it which supposed to relax you, especially if you are stressed or have a bad headache.

And speaking of Martha, there she is on Torchwood tonight...

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