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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» Saturday, January 31, 2009
Avoiding the Shoppers
There seemed to be a conspiracy against us getting to sleep late this morning. Willow was barking sharply at quarter till eight. The sharp bark usually means she needs to go out. So James got out of bed and took her out, then came back to bed. Then the phone rang. Someone was collecting for something. Then Willow started barking again. Sigh.

Despite being woken rather early, we didn't get on the road until noon. I wanted to finish all or as much of the shopping today as we could, as I already expected the supermarkets to be clogged with folks buying supplies for the Stupid Bowl. Kroger, however, was quite civilized. Since we had first stopped at CVS with a coupon and gotten some "particle board bars" as James calls the Nature Valley granola bars he buys, we also got some milk at Kroger. (Usually we get milk at BJs or Costco, since it's so much cheaper. The difference in the price of a gallon of milk in both stores pays the membership price for both stores. But I expected both stores to be a zoo because you can buy bulk meat and party supplies, and since we already had the granola bars, I didn't want to have to go there.) I'm probably going to have to dump most of a gallon of BJ's milk. The sell-by date was today, but it is already going sour. I can get a couple more glasses out of it by adding coffee syrup to cover the taste, but that's about it. BJ's milk does this all the time.

We brought those groceries home, then headed for happier destinations. We were at the hobby shop for over an hour, but I was absorbed in Deanna Raybourn's Silent in the Sanctuary and didn't care. From there we went to Borders at East Cobb. Nothing struck my fancy on this trip; Temptation of the Night Jasmine is out, but I'm waiting for the Amazon coupon I'm redeeming from Hi-Points to get that, unless between now and then Borders does one of their "surprise" 40 percent off coupons. The discount is better on Amazon. Also got some watermelon candies at Fuzziwig's. The guy there is so nice; he will take the bin of Jolly Ranchers out for me and sort out the watermelon candies. It was so much easier when they sold individual bags!!!

Stopped at Michaels; ironically James found something and I didn't. I think it sucks that they don't allow you to use coupons on books anymore. I can see not being able to use them on magazines, but on books is silly.

Made a stop at Trader Joe's for fixings for a salad tomorrow night, then came home via Food Depot to get some sugar-free Blue Bunny ice cream bars.

We ate in tonight. I had some of the light Select Harvest Italian wedding soup we got on sale at Kroger along with half a demi-baguette from Trader Joe's "zooped" in the soup, while I watched Rick Steves help shill for public television. James took some ground turkey and mixed it with oriental noodles and had that as his meal, and for dessert we each had an ice cream bar with a This Old House chaser. :-) A new season of This Old House began two weeks ago. I didn't particularly like the last series, where they built a house using reclaimed items. I prefer them restoring an old home, and the new series is a corker: they are fixing up a 104-year-old brownstone in Brooklyn which had most lately been a rooming house. Although this home has been abused for several years, most of its amazing woodwork, like this gorgeous fretwork between the front parlor and the rear survived intact. (Go to The New York Project page, click on "feature articles," and once there, check out the "Gorgeous Period Details" article, where you can see more of the wonderful woodwork!)

The family that bought it is actually dividing the four storeys into three living spaces: the basement, where the servants originally worked when the brownstone was built, is being renovated into an apartment. The family will live on the first and second floors, and the third floor will be another apartment.

Right now we're watching the Eukanuba Championships on Animal Planet.

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» Friday, January 30, 2009
Warm Down to My Toes
I was freezing all day. Not sure why, but it sure was a PITA. By the time James was scheduled to come home, I had retreated into the spare room, having dosed myself with ibuprofin.

We just went to Oriental Cafè again for supper. They seemed to be shorthanded on staff tonight. I had a large bowl of wonton soup and finally warmed up; before eating, even in the restaurant I was huddled in my coat with my scarf still wound around my neck.

On the way home we stopped at Borders. I had their 25 percent off coupon so I could grab up Caro Peacock's new A Dangerous Affair. They had all their bargain books as twofers, so I got The Genuine Article, a series of essays on early America, and A Stargazing Year. I also found a game called Doodle Dice at half price, so it was only $5.

Arrived home just as Monk was halfway through, so restarted it. My...gosh, this was actually good, although the business with Bob Costas and the psychotic cat was a bit...bizarre. Randy wasn't stupid, only rather hapless, and we had some nice Stottlemeyer/Monk scenes, including one where Stottlemeyer reminded Monk that he used to have fun.

And now back to What's My Line?

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Celebrate the Ads
Super Bowl Commercials: Get Out the 3-D Glasses

In a related story: what's big at the Consumer Electronics Show.

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[hands on hips] NO!
Just emerging from another bathroom break—really feeling a bit wretched this morning, queasy, headachy, slightly lightheaded, stuffy nose, just generally unwell—when I caught a bit of Schuyler's daily amusement. There's a show called Desperate Spaces on HGTV and the hosts choose one of three rooms submitted for an upgrade. One was a lady with a parrot who resided in the living room, and their idea was to put its cage near the door so she could be greeted when she came home.

No, no, no...you open the door, the bird gets a draft...sick bird! I'm glad they picked the married couple.

Back to work now, and nibbling on one of James' slices of bread to hopefully cure the queasy stomach...

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» Thursday, January 29, 2009
Oh, The Things Seen Through These Lenses!
They just interviewed this guy on the news; he lives in Winder, Georgia. This is "a Web site dedicated to the collection, restoration, and preservation of classic broadcast television equipment."

Eyes of a Generation

Wicked cool...

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Imitation is the Sincerest Form...
This is on Briarcliff Road heading away from I-28, going toward Northlake Mall. I remember when they were building it. It's a nice neighborhood, but it really sticks out like that proverbial sore thumb.



Almost ten million dollars? Are they mad?

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» Wednesday, January 28, 2009
Eat Up!
The birds must be really hungry...they are out there in the rain before the larger storm approaching, wildly zooming at the feeder and the suet. The usual crowd—brown-headed nuthatches, tufted titmice, chickadees, white-breasted nuthatch, sparrows, "Mrs. Downy" (the female downy woodpecker)—are there along with pine warblers, a female cardinal, and a male and a female bluebird. A thin line of showers has just passed, but the bulk of the storm is still creeping southeast; shouldn't take long for it to be here, since it was passing Acworth the last time I checked the radar. As an antidote to the gloom I have the shades up, a café au lait candle going on the stove, and the little fall houses on the mantel lit along with the electric candles on the table.

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My Car the Orphan
Chrysler Discontinues PT Cruiser

Well, if Chrysler survives the upheaval, this pretty much means I'll never buy a Chrysler product again. Everything left is undesirable. I'd always hoped they'd make a PT hybrid. Pity...I had the Omni, and the Neon, and now the PT, all lovely cars (save for the constant oil leak on the Neon, and even with that it still ran like a top and gave me the best gas mileage I ever had in a car), with great bumpers.

(Thanks to Alice for the head's up.)

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» Tuesday, January 27, 2009
Supercalifragilistic Anniversary
Dick Van Dyke Tells Mary Poppins Stories

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If This Wasn't So Serious...
...it would rate a big "duh!"

Dead Athletes' Brains Show Damage From Concussions

These are big, solid, muscular guys giving their forward movement all the strength they have in them. When they hit, they hit hard. For years the National Safety Council has made a big thing about even a little thwack to the rear end of your car possibly causing whiplash and concussion. These guys experience more force than that!

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» Monday, January 26, 2009
Four More Months of Countdown?
Senate Passes Bill to Delay Digital TV Switch

Sheesh. It's not like they haven't been reminding people of it for at least a year now.

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Is This Guy for Real?
Blagojevich Makes TV Rounds as Impeachment Trial Set to Begin

This situation grows more odd by the moment. Of course he looks like the answer to a casting call by the producers of Dumb and Dumber doing a film spoof of politics, too.

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A Doctor (and an Award) in the House
Hugh Laurie wins second Screen Actors Guild award for House: Photos in the blog House is Right. (Hugh looks like he needs some sleep!)

Check out the photos from tonight's episode, including the delightful one of House and the baby, here.

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» Sunday, January 25, 2009
Sunday Stockup
Apparently my wakeup time on Sundays after chat on Saturday is pretty much fixed at 10:24 a.m. This is about the third or fourth time in the past month or two that I've woken up at the 24 or at least the 23 mark.

We printed out our twofer Sweet Tomatoes coupon and went there for breakfast. I'm sorry, their oatmeal sucks. It tastes metallic. James thinks they are cooking it in a metal pot. Ugh. The waffle was good, and so was the little salad I had, and the turkey noodle soup was yummy (the "noodles," however, were rigatoni!).

From there we went to JoAnn. I had two nice coupons and bought myself two assortments of paintbrushes. We also bought more of the JoAnn shopping bags. They are twice as large as the grocery store ones, with plastic bottoms, and still cost only a dollar each.

They had the last scrapings of their Christmas stuff at 90 percent off. All their wrapping paper was 39¢ a roll—I had bought wrapping paper, but sheesh...39 cents! I found three patterns that were rather nice looking (the others were pinkish, or lime green) and got them.

James stopped at Hobbytown a few minutes while I finished my library book, then we went to Michaels with 50 percent off coupons they gave out last week. James got a diorama set to use for static shots and I bought a very pretty Easter decoration, along with some 25¢ items.

We finished at Publix for some twofer items (we are at present stocking up for Atomicon in April, and also put away some soup and pasta), and swung by the post awful and Walgreens on our way home. We finished the afternoon watching What's My Line? and To Tell The Truth, and at suppertime put on When We Left Earth.

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» Saturday, January 24, 2009
Grateful
I want to say a big "thank you" to Mel Boros for solving a longstanding computer problem I've had.

Briefly, I use Eudora for downloading both my Earthlink e-mail and the e-mail generated by our domain, which is hosted by 1and1.com. Up until a couple of years ago, I also answered both my Earthlink e-mail and domain e-mail via Eudora, using Earthlink's SMTP protocol.

A couple of years back Earthlink, to further guard against spam, started using an authentication procedure with their SMTP upload protocol. We were using Eudora 4 and had to buy (since I didn't want any dingbat ads) Eudora 7 so I would be able to use SMTP with authentication. But– while I could still download my domain e-mail along with my Earthlink e-mail with this protocol in place, I could no longer upload my domain e-mail through the Earthlink SMTP any longer.

I searched around 1and1.com's help pages trying to solve this dilemma, but never could find the answer. So to answer any of my domain e-mails, I had to log onto web mail, copy the person's e-mail address, subject line, and occasionally portions of their e-mail, and answer them there. My domain e-mail fell behind a lot because this was such a PITA.

I don't know how we actually started talking about it, but during our Twelfth Night party, I mentioned this problem to Mel. We chatted about it for a while, then I went on to talk to someone else. Mel, however, was already sitting in my computer chair and he started using the search feature. A few minutes later he called me over and said he thought he'd found a page on 1and1.com that might help, and a minute later he found another one. So I bookmarked both of them to read later.

Well, I got a chance only today to check out the pages and there was the answer to my problem. Apparently this SMTP authentication protocol blocks port 25, but you could use port 587 instead, and plug in 1and1's SMTP address in the SMTP blank. There in the "personality" screen of all my different e-mail addresses was an option to use port 587! So I revised all my domain personalities, and now I can send domain mail again.

Thanks, Mel!!!!!

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Playing Catchup
Once James arrived home, we had to run to Kroger for the rest of the groceries and James' prescription, but then we had a lovely supper at Fresh 2 Order. I love this place. We've never had a bad meal there. This was the bourbon filet steak, but we had it with the wheat-berry rice instead of the cheese grits. We also had a bowl of their creamy chicken vegetable soup, which is rich with fresh carrots and herbs.

Came home to watch last week's episode of Monk, which was pretty much a waste of time. If I thought Monk's half brother was irritating two weeks ago, Monk's behavior was even more annoying in "Mr. Monk on Wheels." There's a difference between being irritating and being abusive, and Monk had tipped over to the latter. Had Natalie slapped him and stormed away, I wouldn't have blamed her. Frankly, he deserved everything he got, and that included falling out of his wheelchair.

The second episode was much better, except for having Stupid Randy again. The business at the end with him treating the mechanical guy like a real person was incredibly idiotic. But for once they treated Monk's psychological problem with his mother's treatment of him as something detrimental to his well-being, rather than just a funny little quirk. This was an aspect of the earliest episodes of the series, especially the pilot film, and it's just degenerated as the seasons wear on.

Well, won't have long to bitch about this: Tony Shalhoub has declared that the eighth season of the show (they are presently showing the second half of the seventh season) will be its last. I hope Monk is finally able to find out who killed his wife Trudy and why she was killed in the closing episodes of the series; if not it will be a cheat to the viewers who have followed that often ignored ongoing storyline.

We are just finishing the latest When Weather Changed History, about the tragic Chicago heat wave in 1995, and then will go on to more cheerful fare in some What's My Line? and To Tell the Truth programs.

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Here and There
Yesterday was a bit of a lazy day for me. I did go to the post awful and mail some CDs to various people. Went to Michaels to buy the rest of the things I need to finish two Christmas projects and a matte frame for an autumn photograph I bought at the Apple Festival. Stopped at Office Depot to get a card reader for my camera card; it's silly to take the big card reader on vacation with us when all I need is something to get the photos off the camera's Memory Stick Pro. Bought gas at Costco, where I was stuck at the pump after I finished with someone waiting behind me because the inconsiderate boob in front of me (from Fulton County, of course) with his Jag-You-Arrrr blocked the passageway between the pumps. Big excitement. :-)

I also finished a little project this afternoon for a little "film" that I want to send to my cousin. I was playing with Windows Movie Maker for the first time while waiting for James to get home from work, putting titles and credits and some background music on both of those for the finished product.

So now it's Saturday. James is at his IPMS meeting and I'm finally transferring the last few things I recorded off the DVR—some of them are months old. I finally transferred 2010 the other day. The trouble was that these things were not recordings I could just start and then walk away from until they were finished. There were Hugh Laurie's appearance on Saturday Night Live and The Tonight show, and Lisa Lucas' part in An Unmarried Woman (not interested much in the movie but wanted the scenes she was in). She did this about a year after the last Addie Mills special was broadcast, when she was around sixteen or seventeen.

This morning we were busy: James collected the dishes and ran the dishwasher, then scrubbed out the kitchen, and I vacuumed the carpet, then washed the dog. (Sometimes I think I'd rather clean the kitchen than wash the dog; at least the sink doesn't squirm. LOL.) So poor Willow is now sacked out, exhausted from having been tortured with soap and water.

You should see Schuyler's face when James walks by her with the dog in a towel. It's this bright-eyed expression like "Next time can I watch?" LOL.

[Later: 4:13 p.m. Yay! Almost missed it; was finishing the vacuuming...but I won a copy of The Horse Without a Head, one of my favorite Disney live-action films, on DVD on e-Bay. I have a copy recorded long ago off the Disney Channel (back when they showed real Disney movies), but it was in bad shape and the DVD is in the proper theatrical ratio.]

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» Thursday, January 22, 2009
Perils of the Prairie
If you still adore the Little House on the Prairie series, you probably won't like The Ingalls Are Better Than You, a satirical look at the episodes. (Warning: some occasional scatological/bad language.)

On the other hand, if you hated the series or watched it, but knew how absurd some of the stories were, you will probably laugh yourself silly.

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::shrieks::
Mike, for God's sake, whatever you do, don't send your weather our way!!!! Aieeee!

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Shivery
Decided to avail myself of some music from my cassette collection this afternoon. I chose volume one of "Television's Greatest Hits." I don't know how many volumes this series went into, but I have seven of them, a collection of TV theme songs. The opening group is from children's television shows, and the sequence ends with "a test of the emergency broadcast system" (voiced by Don Pardo) and then the infamous "Duck and Cover" song that in the video is accompanied by the cute cartoon of Bert the turtle, retreating into his shell to protect himself from nuclear attack.

"Duck and Cover" was a part of the everyday life in the 1960s. Despite the attacks in 2001 and the different color-coded levels of emergency and inspections at airports and the Department of Homeland Security, kids today are not regularly made to hide under their desks due to the threat of nuclear attack. (Well, we hid under our desks until some perceptive soul realized that the fourth wall in every classroom was glass windows; if the nuclear blast didn't kill us, the flying shards of glass probably would have.) Instead, from about third or fourth grade on we had to hurry into the hallway, face the wall, squat, and put our arms over our head. This happened once a month (more around the time of the Cuban missile crisis). We just lived with it. It was part of our life.

Now I listen to that song and get the cold creeps when they say "When you see the flash, you know what to do." Yeah. Duck and cover. Of course if you can see the flash, you're probably dead already. Brrrrr...

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» Wednesday, January 21, 2009
An Instructive Blast from the Past
Anyone over the age of, say, 45, probably remembers the old Coronet Instructional Films used in schools from the 1940s to the 1970s. These were earnest, well-meaning films, some involving historical matters, but most addressing teen-age problems like dating, courtesy, health, etc. Today they are so sober and stiffly acted that they are frequently parodied and lampooned, and they have shown up on Mystery Science Theatre 2000.

Check these films out here: Coronet Instructional Films

Incidentally, a young Dick York features in several of these films, including one where he learns not to be shy.

I wonder if this site or any other site has any of those cheesy health films about sexual awakening and menstruation we used to have to watch in gym class.

(Ooops...here's one: "Molly Grows Up," from 1953. And here's the classic, Walt Disney-produced, "The Story of Menstruation", from 1946.)

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» Tuesday, January 20, 2009
I Don't Believe This
There are school bands in the inaugural parade that worked hard to be there, Native American groups, state representatives, and others, and there are hundreds of thousands of family and friends who wanted to see them in this parade. So what does every single damn network coverage do the moment the parade begins? They drop the coverage to stations who go back to the news where they're re-capping the early news and not showing what's happening now. Channel 11 is carrying the MSNBC feed, but we have to listen to Chris Matthews bellowing instead of the parade and they're having flipping commercials. So much for WXIA's promise that they were going to cover "everything." The only channel Dish carries that is covering the parade is KLTA in San Francisco, and they've just quit yapping so we can hear the music.

I could just spit.

(And, yo, KTLA, will you quit cutting to the observation booth every two seconds? We don't want to see people's reactions...we want to see the parade!)

[5:30 p.m. Now flippin' KTLA is replaying the oath of office and the entire speech. Happily, WXIA has now gone back to the parade. Of course we don't get to hear the parade, we have to listen to the announcers yap about their day.]

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In Transition
I got all four of my orders in for signature, did another order, got all my new orders and their backups printed out, made a few calls (which, unsurprisingly, didn't get answered, since at least one person was so close to Washington, DC, that I didn't expect one), looked everything over, and decided everything was in order enough for me to use my time-off award. So I left at noon and came home to watch the inauguration parade. I had the whole inauguration magilla recording, but I fast-forwarded through most of it except the former presidents lining up for their entrance to the ceremony—nice to see them laughing and chatting together—and the actual swearing-in, followed by bits of luncheon, the Bush family leaving, and now former Chief Usher Gary Walters talking about his job.

(LOL...it is very reminiscent of a winter day in New England here, without the snow, in the 20s, with a brisk breeze...and I just looked out on the deck and there are sixteen mourning doves lined up on the railing of the deck, trying to keep warm.)

I am reminded of the story of when Eleanor Roosevelt was contacted to tell her that her husband had died. Harry Truman called her to express his condolences and asked her if there was anything he could do for her. She responded that she should be asking him that, as he was the one that was in trouble now. So good luck to President Obama, because he is the one in trouble now. <wry grin>

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» Monday, January 19, 2009
Out, Not In
I hadn't planned on going out today, except perhaps to spend a Michaels coupon and to recycle the plastic bags. That all changed as I ate breakfast and read yesterday's newspaper. In a few minutes I was pulling on my coat and hat.

Old Time Pottery had a sale on floor rugs, and they had small circular rugs—circular rugs without fringe at a decent price. I've been looking for one for the library.

So I bought one. It wasn't the one in the ad, which I liked best, but I found one almost as good. Bought a few other little things, including a cheap bowl and spoon for my oatmeal at work, since someone swiped the last set.

Since I was in the Town Center area anyway, I came back via Piedmont Road and stopped at Michaels and also at JoAnn, then at Publix on Dallas Highway to recycle the plastic bags and buy some more oatmeal (it's not like it's going to go to waste...LOL), and bought some suet for Schuyler's "cousins."

Since I'd left home with only a packet of oatmeal on my stomach, about midway on this odyssey I stopped at Dunkin Donuts. There was a big sign outside saying they had crullers again, but they didn't have any inside. (They had French crullers, but those aren't really crullers at all.) For the best, anyway; I don't need to be eating a real doughnut. I had a chocolate-frosted instead, which is at least a raised doughnut (less calories and fat). I hadn't had a doughnut since last April when we were on our way to Atomicon, and I figured it would be a treat. Instead it wasn't anything special.

I was furious half the time I was driving. I put my radio on and accidentally clicked on my usual traffic report channel. It wasn't there. XM and Sirius "rearranged" things again so that all their talk channels would be on the same number on both services' radios and evidently they rearranged the traffic channels as well. Well, now we are stuck with Sirius' shit-poor, shared traffic channel (Atlanta shares with Miami) instead of XM's single-city channel that is updated more frequently. One of the reasons I ditched Sirius and got XM was that I couldn't stand their badly-updated dimwit shared traffic channels. Thanks a lot for getting rid of the good stuff in favor of the bad (again!), you idiots.

When I got home I spread the rug out...poor thing has been bound up so long there are grooves in it. It's going to take a while to relax. LOL.

I watched Animal Cops South Africa while I had a small lunch, then put on Little Miss Sunshine, which I had recorded a couple of weeks ago because Abigail Breslin and Alan Arkin were in it. I understood this was sort of a black comedy, but I didn't see it that way. It was really kind of sad...and sweet. Richard Hoover is a wannabe motivational speaker looking for a way to spread his 9-step plan to success, his wife is Sheryl, their teenage son Dwayne wants to go to the Air Force Academy and be a fighter pilot (and has taken a vow of silence until he makes it), and rather chubby little Olive (Breslin) just wants to win a beauty pageant. Grandpa Hoover is a foulmouthed, cocaine-sniffing cynic who nevertheless adores Olive and who has been teaching her a routine to do in a pageant, and, as the film opens, Sheryl brings home her brother Frank, who has tried to commit suicide after being fired from his university job over a fracas started by a homosexual love affair. They all seem to be a bunch of sad-sacks, but when Olive gets a chance to appear in the "Little Miss Sunshine" beauty pageant, they all pull together and drive cross-country to fulfill her dream.

Of course it isn't that easy, and troubles dog them on their drive and threaten to split them apart—in one case the separation is painful. But it was funny: when they arrive at the pageant, and see Olive through, these "dysfunctional" folks with their arguments and aging VW van and hopes and dreams are more warm and human than the so-called "normal" hairsprayed pageant organizer and the tarted-up, plastic-faced, repugnantly ugly little girls in the beauty pageant.

Of course I think that was the point. :-)

I've just finished dubbing off a locally-produced program called What'll Ya Have?: A History of The Varsity. Basically The Varsity is to Atlanta what Nathan's is to New York City—although The Varsity doesn't have as many franchises. :-) It's a burger joint, but one with an 80-year history. Since I didn't grow up in Atlanta and I'm not much of a burger fan, most of The Varsity's magic is lost on me. I've never eaten at the main restaurant, just The Varsity Jr. on LaVista Road, and all I remember is getting indigestion from the onion rings. :-) But a friend of ours tells me if he ever visits Atlanta, he wants to eat at The Varsity, so I figured he'd enjoy the special. (James and I want to take him to the Colonnade, which is the same vintage as The Varsity, but the food is, IMHO, waaaaaaay lots better.)

But then I'm sure most native Atlantans wouldn't understand my infatuation with Iggy's at Oakland Beach, either.

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» Sunday, January 18, 2009
Sunday Chores and Snores
We had a nice lay-in this morning and then went on to do the weekly shopping. As we were wandering down the center aisle of Kroger where they keep the discount things, there was an Alpine-tree arrangement (three trees, the largest about 3 1/2 feet high), original price $30, on sale for $3.28! James said let's buy it, so we did! I've always wanted an Alpine tree arrangement, and what a price!

We had to stop at Publix, too, but that is just next door. They had some great twofer deals, including my flavor of oatmeal, so I'm now well-oatmealed. :-) On the way home we stopped and bought batteries for the smoke detectors.

Once we got home James placed all the new batteries in place, and we took the Christmas lights down. Since the Alpine trees were well-flocked, I put them on the front porch with the sled and the shovel, to serve as winter decoration.

James is now down in his "man cave" working on an airplane model and watching 12 O'Clock High, so I'm watching the Christmas episodes of My Family I DVR'd weeks ago.

[Later: just finished also watching Ballet Shoes, which ran on WPBA, based on the Noel Streatfeild book. I enjoyed it, although I was reading reviews on Amazon and people were irritated that there was a romance added for Sylvia and cigarette smoking was shown, making it "unsuitable for children." I don't think it was made as a children's piece only, and goodness!—this took place in the 1930s—everyone smoked like a chimney then! It was an enjoyable period piece—looked really good (but the British are brilliant at historical pieces; they always look authentic) and the period music was super. I've never read any Streatfeild books, so I don't know how close or far away it was from the story in the books. Emma Watson, Hermione from the Harry Potter movies, played the oldest adopted girl, Pauline.]

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» Saturday, January 17, 2009
Flittering
We slept in until the ranting alarm clock woke us, ready to chivvy James off to work. I had some oatmeal, then went to Michaels at Town Center. They had a good deal of Christmas and other things on discount, but I only bought some cording, along with a block of wood. Michaels sells these blocks of wood, 10 inches long and in various widths, for whittling. I used one to make a stand for my gingerbread people and tree last year. This year my new gingerbread decorations and the Santa cook looked rather lost sitting by themselves next to this display. So I will use this block of wood, together with a smaller block of wood, to make a "stair-steps" type of display for next year.

Next went to JoAnn and used my 50 percent off coupons to buy a couple more electric candles to make a little winter display. I have some snowflake stick-ons to decorate them, but couldn't find a little silvery "pick" to highlight the arrangement. I have the mirror to put it on at home (LOL...if I can find it in the disorder of my craft room).

Before I left the Town Center area I stopped at Borders and picked up a Victorian mystery called A Bright Blue Death.

I came home through I-75 and visited the Michaels on Cobb Parkway. I found more decorative cording, some little wood cutouts I need for a project, some rub-ons with chickadees and with snowflakes, and a little silvery berry pick for the candle arrangement. If I didn't want these items so much I might have dumped them and left; I, and at least a dozen other people, were stuck in a line behind a woman who was returning two reels of ribbon in that checkout line because the customer service desk wasn't open. I felt bad for the woman; she was very embarrassed at the line building up behind her while waiting through the lengthy and cumbersome Michaels return routine and before she left she actually apologized to me. It wasn't her fault; there were at least 20 people in two lines—they needed to open up more lines.

I made one more stop to pick up something special for James, then came home via Dollar General, since I needed a battery for the smoke alarm in the garage. On the paperback spinner, I found two intriguing-sounding mysteries for a dollar, one featuring Sherlock Holmes teaming with Father Brown and another about a forensic geologist. It's amazing, surveying the shelves at Borders and Barnes & Noble, and even surfing through Amazon, how many "themed" mysteries there are now. There are knitting mysteries, bookstore mysteries, needlework mysteries, Renaissance Fair mysteries, various Victorian mystery series, cooking mysteries, cleaning mysteries, medieval mysteries, bed-and-breakfast mysteries, 1930s mysteries, herbal mysteries, wartime mysteries, dog-centric mysteries, cat-centric mysteries, mysteries taking place in various parts of the country, country mysteries, city mysteries, musical mysteries...and many more.

I had snagged a can of Progresso "light" chicken noodle soup at Dollar General, and had that for lunch with some oyster crackers. Now I am dubbing off FDR: A Presidency Revealed. This is a great documentary: marvelous 1930s and 1940s color footage that I've never seen anywhere else before, accompanied by narrative by Eleanor Roosevelt and commentary by the president's grandson Curtis "Buzzie" Roosevelt, historian Thomas Fleming, Geoffrey Ward (author of several Roosevelt biographies), Doris Kearns Goodwin (No Ordinary Time), Hugh Gallegher (FDR's Splendid Deception, about the true extent of his polio and its effects), and others.

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» Friday, January 16, 2009
All Work and Some Play
Finished almost all my payment authorizations today, to my immense relief. It looked as if I had more than I did because some of them had two notifications. I also did this year's Ethics Training and filled out my disclosure form.

Also spoke with someone in Rhode Island about a delayed payment. It was the same temperature there as it was here.

I am at present finishing dubbing off the final two What's My Line? episodes that I saved from the nightly recordings. One of the shows took place on Bennett Cerf's birthday and he was playing it to the hilt, including popping one atrocious pun. The other had Ed Sullivan as the mystery guest. For whomever still thought Mr. Sullivan was dour and stiff (despite those charming encounters with Topo Gigio!), this WML dispels it for all time. At first Ed holds his nose closed to disguise his voice. Then he says jokingly to John Daly, "If they wear masks, I wear mask, too," and he puts on a caveman mask (looked a lot like Alley Ooop). Arlene Francis eventually guessed who he was; by then the audience and John were both in hysterics.

Incidentally, one of the panelists was John Payne (Fred Galey from Miracle on 34th Street). Some of the guest panelists are not good players, but Payne was quite sharp.

I think I now have the DVR down to things I still want to watch (Little Miss Sunshine, the two My Family Christmas specials, Ballet Shoes with Emma Watson) and things I want to dub off (Private Screenings: Child Stars with Margaret O'Brien, Dwayne Hickman, Jane Withers and Dick(ie) Moore) and FDR: A Presidency Revealed).

I still had an Amazon $25 gift certificate burning a hole in my desk :-) , so today I pre-ordered the newest Maisie Dobbs novel, Among the Mad. I also purchased the Aureole "Christmas Wishes" album. Aureole's Christmas music came up often on XM's "Holiday Traditions" channel and I fell in love with its ethereal style. I needed $2.25 to reach the $25 (and the free postage rate), so I ordered the newest "Ghost and Mrs. McClure" mystery, which I didn't realize was out.

I have a bit of a love-hate relationship with this series. I like the main characters, the "Ghost and Mrs. Muir"-like combination of a modern-day widow who co-owns a bookstore with her aunt and the ghost of a tough 1940s gumshoe who is tied to the bookstore because he was killed there. One of the reasons I bought the first book is that the book purportedly takes place in Rhode Island. Oh, the author drops a few locations: our heroine's late husband was the scion of a wealthy Newport family, she talks about driving between Newport and Jamestown, and once in each book there is a comment about people dropping their "r's." But I like a regional book to have a flavor of the region it takes place in and I get precious little here. The supporting characters are all New England WASP-y stereotypes instead of the ethnic groups who actually populate Rhode Island (Italians, Portuguese, growing numbers of Hispanic and Asian) and there's no mention of local customs or foods that really ground a good regional book.

I made the mistake of wandering about ABE Books as well and found a Gladys Taber book I don't have and actually haven't read, When Dogs Meet People. I've been a fan of her Especially Dogs since I was in junior high, so this sounds as if I will enjoy it as well.

I've got some HiPoints I can cash in, so I may have another book ordering opportunity soon. :-)

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Wes Scott Mourns
Painter Andrew Wyeth Dies At 91

I always remember the commentary on his painting "Christina's World" given by young Wes Scott, the hero of Earl Hamner's novel You Can't Get There from Here.

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Fr 0 zen
It's mighty chilly over Dixie today. Not sure what it actually got down to, but when I checked our thermometer at 9 a.m. it was 19°F. To show you how deep the cold was, for a while the sun was on the sensor outside that provides the thermometer with its temperature. In the summer, when the sensor is in the sun in 85° weather, I have seen it register 102. Having sun on the sensor today made it crawl up merely to 22° and now that the sensor is in the shade again, it has already plummeted a degree.

I'm sure this is positively balmy for Chicago and points north. They did an experiment last night on a Chicago street which they showed on the news: a gentleman from the science museum tossed a vial of boiling water up into the air over a sidewalk. It froze and turned to snowflakes before it even hit the concrete.

Nevertheless, it was so "cold" here that one of the counties canceled school, saying 15° was too cold for the kids to be standing outside waiting for a bus. I had to laugh, remembering the day it was -10 with the wind chill and I had to walk to school anyway. Those who protest, "But you were in Rhode Island; you had clothes for the cold!"—actually, no, we didn't. Since we weren't allowed to wear pants to school back then, I wore a pair of nylons under my knee socks to keep my feet and legs warm, wore my longest skirt (hard because those were the days of miniskirts), and wore my boots instead of my shoes. Under my sweater I put one of my dad's undershirts and I had a knitted vest on over my sweater. Mom wrapped my scarf so one end went down my back and the other covered my chest and I put the collar up on my coat and tied it in place. Even with my hands in gloves I stuck them in my pockets...and was still pretty frigid when I got to school (after a half-hour walk).

It was, incidentally, right after that when the school board decided girls could wear pants to school when it was that cold. :-) (But we had to wear a pants suit, or a dressy pair of pants. No jeans or corduroys. By the next year, even corduroy was acceptable.)

I filled the feeder last night before bed and the birds already have it almost empty. The doves are roosting, with their bodies hunkered down to cover their little toes, on the chairs on the sunny deck rather than in the trees. I put hot water on top of the ice in the water dish, hoping to thaw it, but it's already frozen over.

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» Thursday, January 15, 2009
Cold Snap
I've been inside most of the day working, but the temperature outside was obvious when I went into the bedroom. For the first time in ages I even shut off the fan!

Even if the window wasn't open, I would have known it never got out of the 30s, as the furnace has been running steadily all day.

When I took Willow out, the cold burrowed its way through my jacket immediately. The metal handle of the gate felt the way an ice tray does when you remove it from the freezer, when your fingers slightly stick to it. It was still daylight, so I hurried out on the deck when we got back in and refilled the bird feeder, hoping the little guys might have another few minutes of stoking themselves up for the cold.

At least it isn't the temperature it is in Minneapolis!

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» Wednesday, January 14, 2009
Deep Freeze
The temperature outside sinks downward. The low tonight is expected to be 27°F, with 14° and 17° for the next two nights. James just went down to the garage to shut off the main for the hose on the left side of the house; the one for the right side of the house, for some odd reason, is under the sink, and that's turned off, too.

Need to fill the bird feeder before I go to bed...those poor little guys will need food tomorrow.

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RIP Patrick McGoohan
How ironic that Disney finally released one of his most well-known films (Dr. Syn, Alias the Scarecrow) a few months ago.

BBC NEWS | Entertainment | Prisoner Star McGoohan Dies at 80

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The Big...Four?
Most people my age were brought up with "the big three," television networks, that is, until the rise of Fox.

But folks older than me will remember when there was a fourth network, and one that presented some well-remembered series (The Honeymooners, for instance) that started out here:

DuMont Television Network

Tip o'the hat to Ivan.

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» Tuesday, January 13, 2009
Tuesdays Always Get Me Down
Especially when I wake up with my eyes itching and watering. What the heck? I couldn't get them to clear, so took an allergy tablet and returned to bed. When I got back up at nine, my eyes still burned and itched, but at least they weren't watering, so I could go in and make another stab at my Smart Card.

I signed in and the gentleman started taking my information—and the system crashed again. He said I could wait, and I did, because at this point I was coughing and feeling so down that I didn't want to have to come back again. I ended up waiting over an hour, but the system finally returned. It was pretty simple: they already had my social security number and user ID, so all they needed was a photo and my fingerprints. I was surprised that they took the latter, since I already have my fingerprints on file, but these were taken electronically.

Otherwise it was a rather commonplace afternoon. I was wishing I could stay outside, as it was lightly cloudy, with a brisk wind, and very conducive to taking nice deep breaths, a wonderful day to go walking!

Arrived home, did some tidying up (the Christmas books we received are finally put up, and the mugs as well), and tossed all the mail in the wastebasket (boy, what a waste of paper). Wil and I also went on a "half walk," just to the corner and back. I was right, it was a good walking day. :-)

James made the "peanut pork" for supper—yum! Had two episodes of Animal Cops South Africa to watch...odd that they're showing new ones in the afternoon. In the background, the furnace is working steadily. We aren't going to get the full-blown "Alberta Clipper" or "Saskatchewan Sloop," or whatever the news reporter called it this afternoon (of course this was the same guy who referred to the weather coming from one of the Canadian "providences"), but it is going to be cold. The lows for Thursday and Friday will be in the 'teens, pretty low for this corner of the country.

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» Monday, January 12, 2009
2008 Roundup
LOL! Uncle Jay Explains: 2008 in Review! (to Christmas carols to boot!)

Tip of the hat to Kat from Texas in "Christmas to the Max."

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Chilly
Jack Frost visited last night. When I opened the garage door in the dark of the morning, I could see that the streetlight had picked out the two cars across the street. They were coated in frost on every horizontal surface. The lawns were stiff and white as well. There was still a big gibbous moon out that would have illuminated the frost if the light had not.

Last night when I was reading the newspaper I came upon a story buried at the bottom of the page about CDC Director Dr. Julie Gerberding having resigned on Friday. In the very next line it said she was asked to resign by the incoming administration, which seems to be a polite way of saying she was fired. A rather bloodless way of putting it. Wow. I expected to see an e-mail about it in my inbox when I logged on this morning, but there was nary a word. Odd.

[Later: Well, jolly...the e-mail server is down and I can't do the purchase order I finished because one computer system isn't talking with the other. What am I supposed to do—knit?]

[Even later: Terrific. Had to reschedule my SmartCard appointment until tomorrow since their system is down.]

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» Sunday, January 11, 2009
Warm Faces on a Cold Day
It was still warm at 2:30 a.m. when we finally wandered into bed, so I was in a sleep shirt under the regular sheet and cover, with the fan in the window. As we shut off the light, the shades began to sway back and forth.

I woke up at 3:30 to put an extra blanket over me, take the fan out of the window, and put on some socks!

As much as I hated to do it, I had the alarm clock set for 10:00 a.m. It was time for that long-delayed trip to Walmart before the churchgoers got there. The strategy worked—except wretched WallyWorld was out of my yogurt as well as Campbell's chicken broth. At least they had the tortillas!

So when we got done at Walmart we had to go to Kroger anyway. We stopped at Lowes first to get a bag of safflower seed for the "ravening flock" outside our back door and also bought more seed at Kroger along with some yogurt, lean ground pork, and a few other items. The chill meant we didn't have to rush between stores or going home.

We ate once we got home and put everything away, including dinner for Schuyler's wild cousins. A little after one we headed out to the Atlanta History Center in my car, since I needed to stop at Costco for gas.

This was fun, but, boy, I'm glad we had the coupons...I remember when the AHC admission used to be $8. We are really paying for that recent addition; it's now $15 to get in. This is okay if you haven't seen the museum before; the Civil War gallery, the history of Atlanta, the Bobby Jones exhibit, and the Native American display are all terrific. But for just two small exhibits, $30 is a bit much!

The Norman Rockwell "Home for the Holidays" exhibit was very simple: just framed Saturday Evening Post covers along the wall. Most of the themes were Christmas, but there were also a few Thanksgiving covers, some miscellaneous, like the "Happy Birthday" cover with the teacher and her class, and a couple of the infamous April Fools covers. Plaques at each end of the display briefly told Rockwell's story. I love Norman Rockwell and would love to go to the museum in Stockbridge (MA) someday.

The Jim Henson exhibit was really fun. It opened with the series that originally brought Henson to public attention, a children's show called Sam and Friends done in Washington, DC. The clip they showed from the series, about Visual Thinking, was very clever and funny. Some of these really need to be released on DVD, maybe a "best of." Who cares if it's black and white?

Of course the emphasis was on the Muppets, starting with their appearances on The Ed Sullivan Show, then of course to Sesame Street and The Muppet Show and Fraggle Rock, plus the two fantasy films Dark Crystal and Labyrinth, but they also showed clips from Henson's various commercials and also an original film that he did called Time Piece, one man's surreal journey of trying to escape his day-to-day life.

Dotted between the storyboards, artwork, and video presentations were showcases, most which included Muppets. Kermit met you as you walked into the exhibit; this was a second or third generation "Kermie," from the 1970s. The original Kermit, who had much larger and less froggy legs, was made from a ping-pong ball and Henson's mom's old spring coat! There was also an early Ernie and a decade-later Bert, a spray-can character from one of Henson's 1960s commercials, Rowlf the dog, and several others. The final exhibit was an 18-minute summary and tribute to Henson that made me sniffle. He died all too soon.

You had to exit through the gift shop (it's a State Law...LOL).

It had only been chilly when we left the house, but when we emerged from the History Center, it was downright raw; the wind had picked up again and had a steel edge to it. It was still overcast, and had there been more moisture in the clouds and it had been just slightly colder, I would not have been surprised to see snowflakes. As it was, the thermometer was standing at 38°F.

We stopped by Borders on the way home and I bought a fantasy novel that looked interesting. I haven't read much fantasy, except the Valdemar books, for years. They also had all their Christmas food items half price and I got a sizable (nine ounce) container of Sunny Seeds. Yum! I love Sunny Seeds.

For supper we had what is becoming our usual, thin-sliced turkey breast served in a salad. We get a pound of this at Trader Joe's, along with a bag of baby greens. James mixes the greens with two little cups of mandarin oranges, a couple of handfuls of slivered almonds, and a handful of Chinese noodles. (We also put friseè in it when we have some.) It's dressed with Kraft Light Asian Sesame dressing. Then he takes the turkey, slices it thin, and warms it up in a little teriyaki sauce. Served together, it's quite nice.

Since then we have been watching the news, and then What's My Line? and To Tell the Truth.

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» Saturday, January 10, 2009
Rainy Days and Saturdays
I wanted a good night's sleep and did get one. We went to bed late, but we got up at eleven! We woke up to a grey day that just got greyer and more oppressive as the afternoon wore on. Whether it was the front coming through or just general exhaustion I don't know, but I was feeling pretty blah all day. I know my sinuses were bothering me because nothing quite killed my headache and my teeth were hurting.

We went up to JoAnn, which was pretty useless because the 50 percent off coupon I had wasn't starting until tomorrow. We stopped at the Borders nearby and James got the newest John Ringo book since he had Borders Bucks and another of those $5 off anything coupons.

Then we cut down 41 to go to the hobby shop. I was deep into reading Eden's Outcasts and the hour we were there flew by. From there we went to the Borders at East Cobb since we were stopping by Trader Joe's anyway. I used my $5 coupon and got a copy of the new Early American Life for free. I like shopping trips where you don't have to pull out any money.

Picked up fixings for our usual Sunday night chicken and salad at Trader Joe's among other things, then drove home through a burgeoning rainstorm, with a stop at Costco for milk and other necessities. We bought another package of the French-milled vegetable-based bath soap. There are eighteen bars; we bought it last in July. I'd say for two people showering every night that's a pretty good length of time for 18 bars to last—the final one will probably finish tonight or tomorrow.

Almost have all the winter decorations up (full decoration mode was stopped by the rain) and everything is finally vacuumed and swept. I hate the disorder between seasonal decoration.

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Ornamenting Rhode Island
Two of the cool gifts I received for Christmas were from my cousin Debbie, who bought me two of the Rhode Island Christmas ornaments created by the man interviewed in this television report: Ornaments With a Rhode Island Flair. I was checking out his website just now...ohboy!

Debbie bought me the ornament based on the gate for the old Rocky Point Amusement Park (which has been closed for years, but an amusement area existed at Rocky Point in Warwick for over sixty years), and also a doughboy ornament from Iggy's at Oakland Beach. As far as I was concerned as a kid, you could keep your pizza; what I always wanted was a doughboy.

Rather than keeping them tucked away just until Christmas, I put hooks on them and hung them on a wire shelf in my craft room. I would love to get a couple of more, like the Blizzard of 78 ornament (since I drove home in the middle of the darn thing, I feel sentimental about it...LOL...I notice the basket has a quart of milk, an Evening Bulletin, and two loaves of bread, "American" bread and Italian bread) and the one for Del's Frozen Lemonade.

The Benny's ornament is cool, too, but I love the building; you can look in the windows!

They have an Autocrat/Eclipse coffee syrup item, but they really need an ornament, too!

But what I plan to buy when I have the funds is my favorite of all the landmarks they have: the Shepard's clock from downtown Providence. I'll always remember the day I chased Santa Claus and the reindeer in the Christmas parade and was separated from my mom. When I quit being scared, I went to the one place I knew Mom would come look for me, next to the Shepard's department store clock on Westminster Street. And sure enough, that's how she found me.

James, on the other hand, wants Nibbles Woodaway, New England Pest Control's "Big Blue Bug," in his Christmas finery. :-)

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» Friday, January 09, 2009
A Place for Everything...
...and everything in its place: undecorating the Christmas tree, Christmas specials, and memories all in Holiday Harbour.

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» Thursday, January 08, 2009
Interrupted Undecking
I've managed to get a lot done with the post-Christmas "house stripping" despite having lost my lunch hour. I used it to drive into work for an all-hands staff meeting. It was a lovely day for a drive, though; a wide, brilliantly-blue sky overhead and a nice brisk wind. I couldn't believe people were bundling up and shivering—it was in the 50s and absolutely glorious!

Thank God I was listening to the traffic report on the way home because there was a horrendous tractor-trailer truck fire on I-285 west that had spread to the trees at the side of the road. The entire road was blocked except for one lane and it was taking 35 minutes for people to go 4 miles. I had hoped to breeze home, but had to get back via Buckhead, which wasn't bad until I got to West Paces Ferry Road. The scenery is grand, but the traffic was backed up as usual.

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» Wednesday, January 07, 2009
Back to Work
I know. I went back to work on Monday. I read all my e-mails (not as many as I feared), responded to those that needed response, ditto with the couple of phone messages, printed out new orders, worked on old ones, did at least one and also a modification, started another order, and put in my request for access to Markview (for the third time; I think it's finally "taken"). But I was feeling so wretched in the heat for two days I don't feel like I actually was there, if that makes any sense.

I must, must, must remember to take my vitamins every day. You would think that with two weeks home I would have taken them regularly, but I didn't, even though they are lined up in precise formation on the sink in the hall bath and I go in there a dozen times a day. I either haven't eaten (taking vitamins on an empty stomach negates their effect), or I've just taken ibuprofin or some Tylenol...or some PeptoBismol or some Gas-X and don't want to take the vitamins on top of another medication, or am in a rush or something. It's got to stop. I especially need the soy isoflavones.

Outside, after a brief glimpse of sun, it is cloudy again. The cold front has finally come through and I have changed from my shorts and t-shirt of early morning to my more comfy sweats, although it is still 70°F in the house. With the windows closed it holds heat well. The windows and the fans are open in the bedroom and it feels delightful. Boy, I wish we could have slept later. It was hard getting to sleep last night because it was still sticky out, but it was nice this morning. I was in quite a sound sleep and so disappointed when James' alarm went off.

During my lunch break and again after work I will need to get cracking and start putting away decorations. James pulled the boxes down for me this morning before he left for work, and I already have a few things down, like the window candles upstairs.

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» Tuesday, January 06, 2009
Endings
A bit of doggerel for the end of the season:
"Christmas is over,
Our faces now are sad;
Pack up all the glitter,
Recall the fun you had.

If you didn't have a lotta fun,
A smile or two will do--
If you didn't have a smile,
Then may God bless you."
And a few closing words in Holiday Harbour.

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Stormy Weather
There's been a front creeping in all day, with the sky grey and heavy except for a brief "sucker hole" that exposed the moon just about the time I arrived home. It lasted as long as it took me to get the mail and go upstairs to fetch Willow. The weather radio was going off and there was a crawl at the bottom of the television screen about a tornado warning in Rome.

What they were predicting was ominous enough that I took all the decorations off the porch (not the lights) so they wouldn't get soaked. I don't like to take the Christmas things down until January 6 is past, but I don't want to take them down wet, either. So into the garage or into the foyer they went, and I put up the winter flag to boot.

The storm didn't actually break until about 9:20 and started with a sound that resembled rocks drumming on metal! This passed in a few seconds and now it is raining steadily.

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Hot Stuff
I can always hope my day will be better than my morning has been.

With the fan still in the window pointed directly at me, I put the light, light blanket on the bed last night, hoping I would be able to sleep better than I did Sunday night. Evidently the temperature never got under 60°F and I could tell: I woke up at 4:30 with my face and forearms hot, feeling as if I were in a slow oven roasting for breakfast. Turned out the curtain had pulled loose from under the foot of the fan and was covering it so no air was blowing on me.

I can't even blame this one on the hot flashes as this "hot skin" business has been going on since they excised my thyroid.

Not to mention my stomach was growling already. Not sure how much sleep I actually got after that until the alarm went off at six.

Everything outside was dark, cloudy, and humid. A fine mist covered the windshield unless I kept the wipers going. Some idiot from behind me almost clipped my car passing me as I was starting to change lanes. Traffic was slow because the rubberneckers had to see what was going on with police cruisers flashing their lights at West Paces Ferry and again at Brookwood.

It's 79 in my cubicle. Gah. And it's only 7:00!

[Later: may not improve, what with the headache and bathroom needs (the latter happens a lot when I'm here; always wonder if I'm somehow sensitive to the water). Plus there I was, experiencing "unavoidable delay," as Frank Gilbreth would have described it, and someone walked in the ladies' room and shrieked. Next thing I knew a roach came scuttling toward me. It's now an ex-roach. So much for the plush life of a Federal employee. LOL.]

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» Monday, January 05, 2009
Whew! (So Far...)
James turned on the garbage disposal tonight and it just went "rrrrrr." For him it was almost the last straw and I rolled my eyes, as I want to be done with spending for a while and I still have to pay the termite "insurance" and the association fee this winter.

He remembered, though, Richard Methuen on Ask This Old House fixing a garbage disposal on one show by wiggling the shaft back and forth with a tool that comes with the disposal and that looks like an Allen wrench. He wiggled it a couple of times and it unstuck. I hope it stays okay (not to mention the icemaker in the fridge, which broke down to the tune of almost $400 last year, and all the guy replaced was a little piece of plastic!). If I'm going to spend money this year, I really would like to get a new light for the foyer, not fix a garbage disposal. I hate that dusty, ugly thing hanging there now; I can't even dust it with my extendable duster pole.

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Illuminated
We went to the Whitlock Road Kroger yesterday as the frozen case at our usual Kroger, where they keep the sugarless pudding, is broken and James wanted some for his lunch. The Whitlock Kroger is larger, and they had some Christmas items left over for miniscule amounts. I got big sheets of gift tags for 25 cents each and a bag of ten gift bags for $2, etc. One of the things they did have was a string of 25 clear C-9 bulbs for less than $2.

Despite the neighbors having their back porch light on almost all the time, it's still pretty dark in the back yard. We have floodlights, but they are attached to the right rear corner of the house. One points in the yard but provides little illumination, and the other one just points at the neighbor's house. What earthly use that is, I don't know. Even if we turn the light on the deck on, there's not much light.

I looked at this string of lights and for $1.67 just tossed it in the carriage. When it got dark, we took it outside on the deck and plugged it in. The light is surprisingly strong—we had dropped one of the bulbs in the yard and James could find it just with the illumination from the string! So what we plan to do is get a short exterior extension cord and a switch, or even a timer, and fasten the string of lights to the underside of the railing of the deck. This way the string will illuminate the deck and the yard as well.

Wish they'd had a second string at that price!

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"It Was a Dark and Stormy..."
...morning. Well, not that stormy, but it was raining, and it was dark, and "Holly" is now gone. Felt stormy enough emotionally, especially after about four hours sleep. Even with two fans on in the bedroom it was warm.

It's 60°F outside and 78 in my cubicle, I have seven new orders, discovered I'd forgotten to send two e-mails on December 19th, got to discard the entire pile of mail on my desk except for the Christmas cards, and have had to ask my supervisor for assistance in getting into a certain system, since it seems my request for access has not been approved, and it's not even 10 a.m. yet! :-) (In asking for help I found out no one else in my area has the needed access, either. So I don't feel like "the Lone Stranger." Or "the Strange Loner" in the WENN-world. LOL.)

I have to remember my snow garland tomorrow so I can swap it out for the poinsettia garland.

Next Monday I get a Smart Card. Rah.

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» Sunday, January 04, 2009
Doctor Who?
The eleventh Doctor will be played by Matt Smith, the youngest actor ever to play the role. I wonder if he's going to have that weird haircut on the series!

Matt played Jim Taylor in the adaptations of Philip Pullman's The Ruby in the Smoke and The Shadow in the North.

Thanks to Rodney for the news!

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» Thursday, January 01, 2009
"A Lovely Light"
I thought this was appropriate for New Year's Day:
A candle's but a simple thing...
It starts with just a bit of string,
Yet dipped and dipped with patient hand,
It gathers wax upon the strand
Until, complete and snowy white,
It gives at last a lovely light.

Life seems so like that bit of string...
Each day we do a simple thing,
Yet day by day if on life's strand
We work with patient heart and hand,
It gathers joy, makes dark days bright,
And gives at last a lovely light.

Clara Bell Thornton

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Flourish